The DHHR report also says 32,091 West Virginians under 18 would be newly enrolled in Medicaid by 2019, Bryant noted. "But the 2008 Census Bureau figures say there are only 9,000 uninsured West Virginians now from families that make less than 200 percent of the poverty level," Bryant said. To be eligible for Medicaid, the family could make no more than 150 percent of poverty.
"How do you get from 9,000 at 200 percent to 32,000 at 150 percent? Are they saying there will be almost four times as many uninsured children in 2019?"
To calculate the under-18 figures, Law said, the DHHR calculated the percentage of uninsured young people they believe could be eligible and trended that forward, using data from the Childrens Health Insurance Program and Medicaid enrollment statistics.
For the 260,000 estimate, the DHHR started with the all-inclusive figure in the talking points from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. "Then they trended that number forward based on our recent experience of growth in the Medicaid program," Law said.
Bryant made the following points about the 260,000 estimate:
| The Census Bureau says 271,000 West Virginians of all incomes were uninsured in 2008.
| The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that less than two thirds of the uninsured earn less than 200 percent of poverty level, Bryant said.
| That amounts to about 178,000 West Virginians at 200 percent of the poverty level.
"It's a stretch from 178,000 to 260,000," he said. "You'd have to assume a huge increase in the number of uninsured."
Bryant said he has requested a meeting with Medicaid officials. "I'd very much like to get to the bottom of this. I'll meet with them whenever they have time."
An actuarial analysis performed for West Virginians for Affordable Health Care in 2009, based on the lower estimates, shows that the state could have a net savings with health-care reform, Bryant said.
Rachel Morgan, senior health policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the NCSL has not yet produced any state-by-state estimates.
"It's premature," she said. "The data isn't firm enough to really put that together yet. We don't know what percentage of the federal poverty level they're going to pick. We don't know if they're going to change the formulations.
"Everybody is clamoring for those numbers, but there is no final bill out there, so it's just impossible to put it together."
"There are so many variables to be taken into account," she said. "This will be a lot easier to get a grip on once there's one bill and we really know what we're talking about."
Read the House Committee on Energy and Commerce "talking points" here.
Reach Kate Long at katel...@wvgazette.com or 348-1798.