Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

July 19, 2012

W.Va. officials weigh Medicaid expansion

Charleston —

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is quizzing the Obama administration as West Virginia officials decide whether to expand Medicaid.

Tomblin sent more than a dozen questions to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a letter Thursday.

The federal health care overhaul calls on states to open their Medicaid programs to more low-income residents in 2014. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law also limits the penalties if states decide against expansion.

West Virginia's Medicaid program mostly serves poor children, the disabled and seniors. It's also the biggest driver behind general revenue budget increases. While federal funds will help with any expansion, that money is temporary.

Tomblin's letter asks about available subsidies and tax credits as well as the federal government's share of Medicaid funding.

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