Stories, Blogs, Policy Updates, and More

OpEd: Disability is a Natural Part of the Human Experience

Paul Smith, long-time West Virginia advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, has worked closely with WV Together for Medicaid to protect the program from federal and state attacks and funding cuts.  His OpEd today in the Charleston Gazette addresses the right of people with disabilities to live independently and productively.  Medicaid pays for critical supports that help people with disabilities stay in their homes and live in the community.  West Virginia has made progress eliminating and shortening waiting lists for these services - but more funds are still needed. And remember - for every $1 the state invests in Medicaid, the federal government provides $2.9 in matching funds.

"....Who of us without a disability would ever choose to live our adult life in a segregated group setting where we make no choices about where we live, who lives with us, or what our own daily activities will be?

For West Virginia to regress to any form of institutional care, whether it be in a large group home or a segregated community, is inhumane treatment of vulnerable individuals.

Institutional care is, ironically, often proposed by well-intentioned individuals as the safest option possible; but, in fact, it has always eventually resulted in being the worst and most dangerous option. West Virginia should work harder to see that supports to succeed at home or on the job are appropriate and meet the individual needs of people with disabilities....

To take any steps backward in this day and age is unimaginable and would be a tragic loss for all West Virginians. With waiting lists for Waiver services, no new funding to address them and increased funding for institutional services, we must change direction. We must move forward, not backward.

We must ensure that the civil rights of individuals with disabilities are protected; that people are not placed in settings that isolate them from the broader community; that individuals have choices, have control over their own lives, are integrated in and have full access to the greater community...."

Free or Low-cost Breast Cancer Screenings and Treatment in WV

3.5 million women in the United States are living with a history of breast cancer. Approximately 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. In 2018, there will be an estimated 266,000 new cases of female breast cancer and 40,920 deaths attributable to breast cancer, according to a new fact sheet on breast cancer screening and prevention from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among West Virginia women, making up almost 25% of all female cancers. The majority of breast cancers are found in women; however, it does occur in men. Getting a routine breast cancer screening is the best way to lower your risk of dying from breast cancer. Screening can help find cancer at an early state when treatment is most effective. For more information about breast cancer, check-out

The West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program provides free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for eligible women in West Virginia. To be eligible for the Program, a woman must be a West Virginia resident between the ages of 25 and 65 years, be uninsured or underinsured, and be at or below 250% of the federal poverty level ($30,350 income per year for 1 person; $51,950 income per year for a family of 3). Women who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through the Program may be eligible to receive treatment through West Virginia Medicaid. For more information about the Program call 1-800-642-8522 or visit

Neighbor State Virginia to Expand Medicaid

Our neighbor state of Virginia looks to be finally ready to follow in the footsteps of West Virginia and expand Medicaid to more low-income adults without health insurance.  Virginia's expansion will cover as many as 400,000 low-income people.  West Virginia expanded Medicaid back in 2014. Virginia will become the 33rd state, along with Washington, DC, to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). 

The Senate voted today, May 30th, to approve a budget that will allow the Medicaid expansion. The House had already voted in favor of the expansion but will have to vote again before the bill can go to Governor Northam (D).  The Governor supports the expansion and has made it a priority for his administration. Virginia will rely on provider taxes to fund the cost of the expansion.

Many of us in West Virginia are thrilled to see our neighbors in Virginia take this important step forward. 


Op/Ed: Remember How the US House Wanted to Gut Our Health Care?

Nancy Tyler, health care consultant and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care board member, lays out the last year in health care in a new op/ed in the Charleston Gazette.

Montana HELP-Link: A Model for West Virginina to Move Medicaid Enrollees to Good Jobs

President Trump is promoting work requirements in the Medicaid program. In our blog on May 15th, we highlighted a couple of new resources that explain how a Medicaid work requirement could harm many West Virginians who rely on Medicaid. The Montana HELP-Link program provides an alternative to a mandatory work requirement that actually helps Medicaid enrollees receive the training and education that helps them move into jobs with decent wages that lift them out of poverty.  

Medicaid Work Requirements: Harm to Women

Mother’s Day made me think about how Medicaid is a critical source of health coverage for women. But coverage for many women in West Virginia – and across the country - is at risk due to recent actions by President Trump and his administration. A new federal Medicaid guidance for the first time allows states to take away Medicaid coverage from people who do not work a certain number of hours each week. This work requirement can be imposed on adult Medicaid enrollees up to age 65, and to many women who care for children or older family members at home. A new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Policy Brief explains more, and a West Virginians for Affordable Health Care Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheet provides insight into why a Medicaid work requirement is not necessary in our state and will result in more uninsured West Virginians.

Medicaid Matters to Moms

Anna Jarvis, Mother’s Day creator and West Virginia native, was deeply involved in the health of her family and her own mother’s primary caregiver. Anna Jarvis established Mother’s Day to honor her mother, and to honor all women who daily advance the health and well-being of their families, neighbors, and communities.

Health insurance coverage is key to women’s access to health care, overall health, and economic stability. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of women across the country who did not have health insurance before are now able to get affordable, quality coverage through Medicaid.

In West Virginia, the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion implemented in 2014 gave tens of thousands more women the peace of mind knowing that they had insurance coverage and would be able to see a doctor for check-ups and health care.

West Virginians for Affordable Health released a Mother's Day Fact Sheet highlighting the ways Moms rely on Medicaid.

Medicaid: Lifeline for Seniors

One of West Virginians Together for Medicaid's many great collaborating organizations, Protect Our Care, released a fact sheet detailing how Medicaid supports seniors and older Americans as part of our April Medicaid Awareness Month campaign.


How Medicaid Works for the Disabled

Protect Our Care released a fact sheet this morning that explains how Medicaid supports people with disabilities, and how the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to the program could harm people with disabilities.

West Virginians Together for Medicaid