Johnson, meanwhile, said he would impose a moratorium on Marcellus Shale horizontal drilling -- pending further study of health and environmental risks associated with fracking, including the release of radioactive materials.
Johnson said the state should instead be focusing its efforts on drilling for geo-thermal energy, which ultimately could be a source of unlimited, nearly free energy for the state's businesses, industries and residents.
Tomblin said the administration continues to conduct costs-benefits analyses regarding the state's participation in the Affordable Care Act.
That includes options to expand Medicaid coverage to cover families with household incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, and to participate in a state health benefit exchange.
"It needs to be an educated decision, an informed decision, before we lock West Virginians into something we can't afford," Tomblin said.
Maloney said he favors repealing the act.
"That's still our main goal, repeal the stupid thing," he said of the ACA. "To do that, we need to elect Mitt Romney and change the U.S. Senate."
Said Johnson, "We should be providing health care to our people, period."
On the issue of global warming, Tomblin said he's "not 100 percent convinced" it's a scientific reality, while Johnson said there is no question climate change is occurring and human activity is a key factor, and Maloney dismissed global warming as "a hoax."
Johnson called on Tomblin and Maloney to boycott next week's state Broadcasters' Association debate -- the only scheduled televised gubernatorial debate this fall -- unless he is allowed to participate.
Both said they believe Johnson should be allowed in the debate, but declined to boycott if the broadcasters' association continues to deny him access.
Maloney defended campaign ads contending that Tomblin has exhausted the state budget surplus, while Revenue Office figures show current Rainy Day fund balances totaling $883 million, along with an $88 million surplus carried over from the 2011-12 state budget.
"A lot of that is going to go away," Maloney said, citing the state's six-year budget forecast. "And a lot of that is Obama's stimulus."
A fourth candidate is running for governor: the Libertarian Party's David Moran.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.