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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

WV Bills Aim to Lower Drug Costs, Prevent Medicaid "Cliff"

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Tuesday, February 15, 2022   

West Virginia groups are pushing state lawmakers to pass several bills related to health care, bills they say would lower copays and increase access to health insurance.

Legislators are considering a bill which would allow people who make a small amount of money over Medicaid's income limit to "buy in" to the program.

Gary Zuckett, executive director of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, thinks the bill would incentivize people to work more hours, or get a better job or a second job, without fear of losing their Medicaid coverage.

"What's happening now is, they basically either have to not take that new job, or lose their health insurance," Zuckett explained.

According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, for a person working full-time making $10 an hour, just a 25-cent raise would push them above the income eligibility threshold for receiving Medicaid benefits.

Zuckett also pointed to House Bill 4252, which would lower the cost of copays on insulin and related supplies, with the goal of shrinking costs for patients down to around $35 a month. He added, more than one in 10 West Virginians live with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

"West Virginia has some of the highest rates of diabetes in the country, so this will affect a lot of folks," Zuckett noted.

People with diabetes have medical expenses more than twice as high as those without. Total direct medical expenses for West Virginians diagnosed with diabetes top more than $1 billion a year, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Disclosure: West Virginia Citizen Action Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Environment, Health Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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