Members of the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Trump-backed healthcare bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Joe Manchin believes the bill has major issues and will likely move slowly through the U.S. Senate.
Manchin called the new healthcare bill “troubling” Wednesday and says it will hurt thousands of West Virginians - especially those on Medicaid.
Under the ACA, former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin chose to expand Medicaid access in West Virginia, adding some 170,000 people to its rolls. But the new healthcare bill would cut federal funding for expansion patients. Manchin says over a ten-year period, West Virginia would have to pay an additional $9.3 billion to maintain coverage for those individuals.
Manchin says 68,000 West Virginians will lose their Medicaid coverage in 2018, and 125,000 West Virginians by 2026.
“We’ve got our older demographics, our older population, which will be paying higher. We have more with existing conditions, pre-existing conditions; they’re in jeopardy of not being able to get coverage, and just every demographic; it’s just a horrible situation,” Manchin said.
All three members of West Virginia’s delegation to the House voted in favor of the bill. Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has joined Manchin in expressing concerns over changes to coverage.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.