AP NEWS

Medicaid work bill dies in West Virginia House

February 28, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A bill that sought to place work or other requirements on Medicaid recipients in West Virginia has died in the House of Delegates.

A House committee put the bill on its inactive calendar Wednesday, the final day that legislation could be passed in their chamber of origin. The full House earlier Wednesday debated the bill but stopped short of voting on it, and did not take up the bill during a late evening session before adjourning.

The bill would have required able-bodied adults to work, participate in workforce training or community service, or attend a drug treatment or recovery program for at least 20 hours per week.

According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, about 159,000 West Virginians are enrolled in Medicaid expansion.

The Trump administration has allowed states to tie Medicaid coverage to work.

Some House Democrats said during afternoon debate that there were too many unknowns about the bill.

“This bill is an amazement,” Kanawha County Democrat Larry Rowe said. “It’s been part of the legislative process for not even six days. Health care is life or death. There’s some very fundamental questions that are not answered in the bill.”

Chantal Fields, executive director of the nonprofit group West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, said this week the bill was hastily crafted, had no public hearing and didn’t have a fiscal note.

The bill “came as a surprise to the entire health care community,” Fields said.