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As climate change conference opens, one CA city takes action; More hostages released as Israel-Hamas truce deadline approaches; WV could lose hundreds of millions in Medicaid funding.

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An expulsion vote looms for Rep. George Santos, the Ohio Supreme Court dismisses lawsuits against district maps and the Supreme Court hears a case which could cut the power of federal agencies.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

As ACA Hits 13th Year, West Virginia Makes Coverage Gains

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Monday, March 27, 2023   

It's been 13 years since more than 156,000 West Virginians gained health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

As sweeping and sometimes controversial as the ACA has been, its longer-term effects are still being felt today at the state level.

Gary Zuckett, executive director of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, pointed to a new West Virginia law capping insulin copays at $35 per month. The law goes into effect January 1.

"I think we now have the best insulin copay cap legislation in the country that we just helped get passed in a very 'red' legislature," Zuckett noted. "Which does show you that health care is not partisan."

Federal data shows since the launch of the federal health insurance exchange, enrollment in health insurance plans has doubled from 8 million to more than 16 million nationwide.

According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, the Medicaid expansion included in the ACA allowed more than 200,000 West Virginians to gain access to health coverage.

Zuckett cautioned when the "continuous coverage" rules enacted during the pandemic expire April 1, the state will begin re-evaluating people's eligibility, which could signal a setback in progress.

"A lot of people won't qualify or won't fill out the paperwork, and they'll lose their health insurance in West Virginia," Zuckett explained. "That could be as many as 50 or 100,000 people. So, that's going to be a step backwards."

According to America's Health Rankings, around 6% of West Virginians were uninsured in 2021, far fewer than the nearly 16% of the state's population who lacked coverage prior to the Affordable Care Act.

Disclosure: The 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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