Beginning next year, thousands more people will join West Virginia’s Medicaid program. According a report commissioned by the state Insurance Commissioner’s office, about 277,000 people will have state-sponsored insurance by 2016.
That vast increase could cause problems in the state’s healthcare system. Sen. Evan Jenkins, who also is executive director of the West Virginia State Medical Association, says there might not be enough primary care physicians in the state to meet that expanded Medicaid population.
Jenkins said because Medicaid reimbursements to doctors are so small, physicians cannot afford to run a practice solely with state-insured patients, so they relegate those patients to a set number of “slots.” The practices don’t accept any more Medicaid patients once those slots fill up.
In other news…
- When Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced in May that West Virginia would expand Medicaid, the state Department of Health and Human Resources promised to deliver a report outlining specifics of the expansion by July 1. That deadline has come and gone, and the report still is not ready.
- Delegate Josh Stowers, D-Lincoln, announced this morning he would leave the House of Delegates (and his day job as vice principal of Horace Mann Middle School in Charleston) to become deputy state Treasurer. He’ll become Assistant Treasurer when current Assistant Treasurer Danny Ellis retires at the end of the year.