70,000 WV Medicaid Recipients Have Jobs, Report Says

Charleston Gazette-Mail - About 70,000 West Virginians who were part of the state's Medicaid expansion are employed in jobs ranging from food service to construction to health care, according to Families USA and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. Read

In a report released Tuesday, Families USA notes that the study was based on "the 127,000 adults who could benefit from expanded coverage" based on U.S. Census Data between 2010 and 2012, and looked at those with incomes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level who were employed but lacked health insurance. The Medicaid expansion in West Virginia has seen more than 165,000 enrollees in the last two years — well above initial projections, making 70,000 people a conservative estimate, said Sean O'Leary, policy analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

"It's probably bigger than that number," O'Leary said. "When you look at the census data, you see that these were people who largely didn't have health insurance. West Virginia is an unhealthy population, and that's one of the big causes why we have low levels of labor-force participation — because we have a large chunk of the population who are sick or disabled and who aren't getting the regular care that they need."

Terri Giles, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, said the study was designed to show that working West Virginians were benefiting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Of the 70,000 identified in the study, more than half were food service workers, retail sales workers, administrative assistants, maintenance workers or construction workers, according to Families USA.

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