Former Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, a physician at Charleston Area Medical Center, said, "Those who qualify for Medicaid now pay about 30 percent of their health-care bills. If Medicaid expands, that will go down to nearly zero."
Hospitals, Foster stressed, are also facing "significant risks," especially "safety-net hospitals" that provide medical care to poor patients.
"Of all the forms of injustice, inequality in health care is the most shocking and inhumane," Foster said.
Renate Pore, director of the West Virginia Children and Families Coalition, said children would be half of all beneficiaries of the Medicaid expansion being considered by Tomblin. Blind, disabled and patients over 65 would also be major beneficiaries.
Today, Bryant said, "72 percent of Medicaid costs are paid by the federal government, while 28 percent of those costs are picked up by the states."
(WVAHC provides additional information on its website: www.wvahc.org.)
Rick Wilson, director of the American Friends Service Committee's Economic Justice Project, said those who will benefit from expanding Medicaid include "people who wait on us in stores and restaurants and people who take care of our kids and elderly parents."
Beth Baldwin, immediate past president of the West Virginia Nurses Association, said she is happy "6,200 new jobs will be created. That will help nurses. We should call upon our state leaders and our governor to support this expansion."
Josh Sword, secretary-treasurer of the state AFL-CIO, said, "Most union members have access to employer-based health insurance. But quality, affordable health care is for every West Virginian. It is a right, not a privilege."
Stephen Smith, executive director of the Healthy Kids and Family Coalition, said, "5,300 veterans in West Virginia would also receive health care if this is passed."
A recent study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation pointed out 2,600 uninsured military spouses would also get medical benefits if West Virginia expands its Medicaid coverage.Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.