Photo by Craig Sunter/FlickrCC

Many West Virginians rely on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid for their health coverage, and so the current debate in Washington, D.C. about the future of public health care in America will have enormous, and very real, implications for tens of thousands of people in this state.

For example, Medicaid covers more than half of West Virginia’s children.

With a mission to explore the health care issues that matter most to all West Virginians, the West Virginia Rural Health Association is bringing together a remarkable group of public health professionals and experts from across multiple disciplines at the West Virginia Rural Health Conference in Davis this October.

In a session on Changes to ACA and Medicaid: Impact on Rural West Virginia, Kat Stoll, a health policy analyst and the Director of West Virginia Together for Medicaid, and Doris Selko of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, will examine the changes from Washington and what impacts current proposals will have on West Virginians, our rural health care providers, and our state’s economy.

What will federal cuts to Medicaid mean for our ability to address the growing opioid addiction health crisis? Or force the state to limit services to seniors and people with disabilities?

Congress continues to debate dramatic cuts and caps to federal Medicaid funding. These radical changes to the financing of the entire Medicaid program would cost West Virginian billions of dollars.

At stake in the debate is the ability of West Virginia to design a Medicaid program that meets the needs of our state – that helps one-third of West Virginians pay for comprehensive health insurance and that is essential financial support for rural providers.

Exploration of West Virginia specific impacts will be the focus of the discussion. For example, what will federal cuts to Medicaid – the largest payer of substance abuse disorder services in our state – mean for our ability to address the growing opioid addiction health crisis?

How could federal Medicaid cuts force the state to limit services to seniors and people with disabilities?

No group of Medicaid enrollees would be protected from the impact of the federal cuts – including the three-quarters of all West Virginia children whose health care was supported by Medicaid in 2016.

Don’t miss this, and many other, critical discussions about the present and future of health care in West Virginia.

Learn more, and register now, at wvrha.org/2017-west-virginia-rural-health-conference/