Tony Gregory, vice president of legislative affairs for the West Virginia Hospital Association, was pleased to learn that Medicaid would not be cut.
"On a state level, Medicaid represents a significant part of the state budget but also brings in federal dollars," Gregory said. The state gets three federal dollars for every dollar in spends on Medicaid, Gregory said. "The governor and the legislature has consistently recognized the value of the match which allows states to get matching federal dollars."
Perry Bryant, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare, said he's interested in seeing how the governor intends to avoid cutting Medicaid without raising taxes.
Bryant said the state has been using reserve money, partially from the stimulus, to pay for Medicaid.
"That's a precarious position to be in," he said. "It's like using your savings account to pay your grocery bill. When you're saving account is gone, how do you pay your grocery bill?"
The state's substance abuse problem was another focus during the governor's speech.
A new website, Faceyourfuturewv.com focuses on the state's work force and provides resources for jobseekers and employers. It also lists county-by-county resources for drug treatment.
The website is part of a larger campaign to raise awareness of substance abuse problems in West Virginia, according to the website. The campaign will also include television, newspaper and outdoor advertising in addition to the website.
"Beginning today, we will carry the message: if you get high, you won't get hired," Tomblin said. "Drugs aren't working."
Tomblin's Advisory Council on Substance Abuse recommended that the state raise alcohol and tobacco taxes and use the money for drug abuse treatment and prevention. Instead, the governor touted a budget on Wednesday that contains no tax increases.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said Tomblin understands the health of West Virginia's residents and its workforce are mutually supported interests.
"We're happy to see him understand and support the linkages between economic vitality and good health outcomes for the state," Gupta said.
Staff writer Ken Ward Jr. contributed to this story.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.