CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State Department of Health and Human Resources officials agreed Tuesday to "take a second look" at controversial figures they released last week that said that an additional 193,000 West Virginians would be insured by Medicaid in 2010.
"Their numbers appear to be inflated more than double what Census figures suggest," Don Perdue, chairman of the House Health and Human Resources Committee, said Tuesday.
"West Virginia stands to receive enormous benefits under health reform," Perdue said, "but the state would pay part of the Medicaid cost, so we do need an accurate idea of how we would benefit and what the cost would be."
The Wayne County Democrat asked Monday for a meeting with DHHR officials. During that meeting Tuesday, Perdue said he pointed out that the DHHR report also says Medicaid costs $501 a day per person.
"Currently, it's $308 a day in West Virginia," he said. "The DHHR used one of the highest rates you can possibly use.
"If you start with twice as many people and use a high per-day rate, of course you're going to come up with some alarming figures," he said.
After the meeting, DHHR spokesman John Law said, "Some of the things they pointed out are things that need looking at."
Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, said that according to Census figures, between 88,000 and 105,000 West Virginians would be newly covered by Medicaid, depending on what cutoff point Congress adopts.
"They never admitted to the errors, but they never denied it either," Perdue said of DHHR. DHHR Secretary Patsy Hardy asked the legislators to give their concerns in writing, he said.
Forster said he pointed out that the state could save money on children's coverage. Many children who would be covered by Medicaid under health reform are now covered by the Children's Health Insurance Program, he said, and "the CHIP federal match rate is less than the Medicaid match."