Medicaid Turns 50: How the Program Has Helped West Virginians in the Last Half Century

by Brooke Bailey, 2015 Summer Research Associate

On July 30, 1965 – fifty years ago – President Lyndon Johnson signed a piece of legislation into law that would one day provide assistance to over 70 million people across the United States. Since its adoption, Medicaid has provided health coverage to the states’ most vulnerable populations.

Medicaid directly impacts more than 530,000 West Virginians by providing health coverage to low-income seniors, children, and people with disabilities and by providing parents and other adults economic security through health coverage that protects them from medical debt and allows them to remain healthy and work.

2014 Enrollment Medicaid

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Medicaid is also important to the state’s economy, providing thousands of jobs in the health and long- term care sector and indirectly supporting local businesses where workers spend their money.

In celebration of this influential program that has helped so many West Virginians in need, we should reflect on some of Medicaid’s successes.

West Virginia’s Medicaid Expansion

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 gave states the option to expand their Medicaid programs to include individuals between the ages of 19 and 64 who have incomes at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Governor Tomblin announced West Virginia’s expansion of the program in May 2013. Through the end of fiscal year 2014, over 130,000 individuals received Medicaid coverage as a result of the program’s expansion. While the rate of uninsured non-elderly adults remains relatively high at 20.7 percent, that rate has dropped by 6.7 percent since the 2013 expansion.

Aiding West Virginia’s Children

Medicaid is primarily a health insurance program for low-income children. More than half of all Medicaid beneficiaries are children. Medicaid ensures that children get screening to catch health and developmental problems early. This is especially important for West Virginia because of its high rate of child poverty.

207,900 children in West Virginia receive health care through Medicaid. That means that about one in two, or almost 50 percent, of kids can see a doctor and receive the care that they need for healthy development, like vaccinations and screenings, all because of Medicaid. Along with CHIP, Medicaid has significantly reduced the number of uninsured children in West Virginia. Only 5.3 percent of the children in our state remain without insurance.

Medicaid also has a number of long-term benefits for kids. Children who are eligible for health coverage through the program are more likely to do better in school, miss school less often, are more likely to finish high school, attend college and finish college, have fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations as adults, and earn more as adults.

Federal Support

Medicaid is jointly funded between the states and the federal government. Each state enjoys flexibility in managing its program in accordance with national guidelines. In exchange, the federal government covers about 57 percent of the costs nationally. That percentage is consistently higher in West Virginia, with a 70 percent federal share in 2014, a decrease from 81 percent in 2010. For every dollar West Virginia spends on Medicaid benefits, the federal government chips in an additional $2.20.

The significant federal funding allows Medicaid to support West Virginians during difficult economic times. It is a counter-cyclical program, meaning it grows to meet the need when the economy is in a downturn and residents face job loss or economic hardship. On several occasions, leaders at the federal level increased federal Medicaid contributions to help states manage enrollment growth even when states experienced declining revenues.

Efficient Health Coverage

Not only does Medicaid provide access to critical health care services, it also does it more efficiently than private insurers do. Ninety-four cents of every dollar spent on Medicaid goes directly to health services, making the program’s administrative costs less than half those of private insurers. Medicaid also spends less per enrollee than private insurers for both children and adults. Medicaid’s costs increased at about one-fourth the rate of private insurance since 2007.

2005 Costs Per Enrollee Medicaid

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Medicaid has earned a well-documented reputation over the years by helping some of West Virginia’s most vulnerable residents access necessary health care services. In the ever-changing health care and economic landscape it offers a stable source of care for people in need while delivering critical financial resources that ripple through the state’s health care system. West Virginia’s leaders can find ways to build upon the past successes of Medicaid in ways that can also help West Virginians who remain uninsured receive better access to health care.

To learn more about West Virginia’s Medicaid program, read our publication Medicaid Made Simple.

To learn more about Medicaid in general, visit CBPP’s website.

Recovery in Reverse: The State of West Virginia’s Economy

Andrew Brown has a good piece in the Gazette-Mail highlighting that West Virginia now has the nation’s highest unemployment rate. West Virginia’s economic recovery since the Great Recession (December 2007) has been bumpy but it now appears that the state may be entering a new downturn. Overall, West Virginia has lost 1.1 percent of its jobs base (8,700 jobs) since December 2007,  while the nation as gained 2.5 percent or 3.5 million jobs. In fact, West Virginia has fewer jobs today than it did in 2006. While the decline in coal jobs is one reason for the state’s poor economic performance over the last several years, other sectors are also performing poorly.

The economic recovery for both manufacturing and construction is well below the national average. West Virginia has lost 16.1 percent of its manufacturing job base, compared to 10.2 percent nationally, and nearly 23 percent of its construction job base compared to about 15 percent for the nation as a whole. The closures of coal-fired power plants in the state have also dragged down employment in the utilities sector while other states continue to add jobs. Most surprisingly, the state has lost a large chunk of jobs in leisure and hospitality while nationally these jobs have grown. The one bright spot for West Virginia has been job growth in business and professional services, which typically pay above average wages, and growth in government employment. 

jobgrowth by sector

The mining and logging sector, after initially adding jobs during the recession, has declined over the last three years as demand for coal and lower prices for natural gas have reduced jobs in both industries. However, it is important note that mining jobs over the last 25 years (1990) have averaged about 3.9 percent of total non-farm employment and today it’s just below this number at 3.8 percent. This tells us that the relatively poor performance of other industry sectors is also a large reason for West Virginia’s poor job growth in the economic recovery.

mining and loggingWVmininshare of wv jobs

One other bright spot in June’s unemployment numbers was the  increase in the state’s labor force, which pushed up the state’s unemployment rate. While it is great to see the labor force growing, it has a long way to go before it’s back to historical levels. At 782,000, the state’s labor force is down by 35,000 from its peak of 817,00 in 2009 and it’s smaller than it was in 1980, 35 years ago.

labroforve historica

While the state’s economic recovery is in reverse, it is important that policymakers take the important steps needed to help get it back on course. This would start by efforts to push more people and places out of poverty by enacting a refundable state EITC, investing more in higher education (instead of cutting it) and infrastructure, and avoiding the tax cut mistakes of the past. While national trends (e.g. energy prices) and federal policies have a much larger impact on our state’s economy, well-targeted state policies that invest in communities and educate our children can help us in the long-run to get back to stronger economic growth, and more better-paying jobs.

Budget Beat – July 17, 2015

The Fast Fast Facts on “Right to Work”

Check out our second edition of Fast Facts. This issue explains the real meaning of “Right to Work” and its broken promise of economic growth in states that have adopted it. It’s a policy that could actually lower wages in West Virginia which already has a median wage lower than the national median wage.

More Facts on Prevailing Wage

This week the Charleston Daily Mail published an oped claiming to define the state’s prevailing wage debate. As Sean’s blog post points out, the oped was short on facts and long on rhetoric. For more, check out last week’s Fast Facts and the top 5 things you need to know about the prevailing wage and what it means to West Virginia workers.

governor with union workers 2.12.14

Quick Action: Stand with CFPB on Consumer Protection

Government agencies don’t usually get much attention on their birthdays. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not just any agency. Its rules and enforcement actions already have made a positive difference for credit cardholders and people taking out mortgages and student loans; and it has delivered $5.5 billion back to 14 million defrauded consumers. And that’s just a start on the Consumer Bureau’s important job of standing up for fairness and transparency in the world of banking and lending.

Join us in sending a birthday message to the CFPB. Congratulate them on the good work to date. Urge them to stand up for what’s right in the tough and important work that lies ahead.

Now the CFPB is taking on important new tasks – crafting rules to rein in the predatory practices of payday, car-title and other debt-trap lenders; cracking down on abusive debt collectors; and addressing the use of take-it-or-leave-it forced-arbitration clauses that let banks and lenders break the law with impunity. But the same industry forces that stood against this agency from the beginning are still trying to squelch it.

Let’s seize the birthday moment to say thanks, keep at it, and we stand with you for consumer protection. Once you’ve signed, please take an extra moment to say something about why you, personally, think it is important that someone stands up for fairness in the financial marketplace.

Apply Now For Freedom School

Applications are now being accepted for the American Friends Service Committee’s Freedom School taking place August 28-30, 2015 at the East End Family Resource Center in Charleston, WV.

Freedom School will explore:

  • Why are people poor?
  • Why are so many people of color in prison?
  • Knowing your rights with the police
  • How to organize against racism

….and much more….!

Freedom School is for youth ages 15-21 to learn about racism and how to organize to undo it. Attendees will learn anti-racist community organizing skills and learn from community elders. They will think critically about the education system, the media, and the criminal justice system, and learn and work together to create change.

To get involved, to become a sponsor or if you have questions contact Lida Shepherd at (304) 356-8428 or click here. To apply for the upcoming Freedom School, click here.

Register Today for the Next Our Children Our Future Policy Workshop!

2015 WVRPW Beckley

Op-Ed Gets Facts Wrong on Prevailing Wage

Yesterday, an op-ed appeared in the Charleston Daily Mail penned by Bryan Hoylman, the president and CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors of West Virginia. Mr. Hoylman’s op-ed was strongly anti-prevailing wage, going so far as comparing the state’s prevailing wage to “larceny.” But, while the op-ed was strong on rhetoric, it was weak on the facts, making several claims that were distorted or flat out false about the state’s prevailing wage.

First, the op-ed stated the West Virginia’s prevailing wage has increased 24% since 2008, outpacing wage growth in every other industry in state. This simply is not the case, and a simple check of the statistics proves it to be false. First, the state doesn’t have one prevailing wage rate, it has 2,640, for 48 different occupations in 55 counties, and they have all changed at different rates, some more than others. But for simplicity’s sake, we can average the 48 occupations together in one county. So, for Kanawha County, the average prevailing wage rate has increased from $24.81 in 2008 to $29.49 in 2015, an increase of 19%. Why is it not 24%, like in Hoylman’s op-ed? Because the op-ed is including fringe benefits. For Kanawha County, including fringe increases the growth rate to 26%, since, as everyone is familiar with, health care costs are growing faster than the overall economy.

Including fringe benefits when comparing the prevailing wage growth to just wage growth in other industries is another misleading apples to oranges comparison, since fringe benefits are only included for prevailing wage and not in industry wage statistics. When comparing the prevailing wage basic wage rates growth (not including fringe benefits), to average wage growth from the BLS Current Employment Statistics (also not including fringe benefits), it’s clear that the growth in WV’s prevailing wage rates is right along with most other private industries.

wage growth

Next, the op-ed goes after fringe benefits themselves, arguing that they, too, are inflated compared to the rest of the economy. The op-ed states that under prevailing wage, construction workers are mandated, “to be paid anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of their pay package for benefits,” while the Census Bureau shows that under normal circumstances, “employee benefit packages equal roughly 25 percent of their pay.”

Either through a misunderstanding or ill intent, the op-ed is twisting the definition of pay to make prevailing wage look inflated. According to the Census, in March 2015, employer costs for employee compensation averaged $33.49 per hour, which included $22.88 in wages and salaries, and $10.61 for benefits. So, of total compensation, wages were 68% and benefits were 32%.

Let’s look back at Kanawha County’s prevailing wage. Under prevailing wage in 2015, total compensation averaged $47.86, which included $29.49 in salaries and $18.37 in benefits. So, for prevailing wage, of total compensation, wages were 62%, and benefits were 38%, pretty close to the average from the Census, but nowhere near 50-80%.

So where does the 50-80% claim come from? It appears for prevailing wage, the op-ed is calculating benefits as percent of wages, which is in that range for most occupations, rather than calculating benefits as a percent of total compensation, as the Census does. Comparing benefits as a percent of wages to benefits as a percent of total compensation isn’t a comparison at all, they are two entirely different figures. The statements in the op-ed are completely wrong. 

The op-ed also gives an example of a flag-waver earning $42/hour (including benefits, if the op-ed didn’t make that clear), when in the “market” unskilled labor earns around $10/hour, as an example of the prevailing wage gone wild. First off, flag wavers are generally found on road construction projects, which, since they are largely federally funded, are subject to the federal prevailing wage law. West Virginia’s law has no relevance there. But the author may be surprised to learn that in the “market,” according to BLS statistics, only 10% of “construction laborers” earn $10/hour or less. 

Regarding the recently passed law, and the controversy over its implementation, the op-ed states that the law specifically cites how to calculate the new wage, when in fact, the law simply states that Workforce WV shall determine a new methodology “as evidenced by all appropriate economic data, including, but not limited to, the average rate of wages published by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” with no specifics at all.

Finally, the op-ed states that the temporary repeal of the prevailing wage, “may ultimately save taxpayers millions of dollars in just a few months.” This flies in the face of all the available evidence. Not only is there no evidence that West Virginia’s prevailing wage law has added to the state’s construction costs, there’s no evidence that repeals of prevailing wage laws save any money, as Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Kansas have all learned.

Contrary to the rhetoric, the facts make it clear that West Virginia’s prevailing wage law is a good deal for the state, and helps create a more productive and efficient construction industry. The savings and benefits promised to states that repeal or weaken their prevailing wage laws have always failed to materialize. Doing so in West Virginia would hurt local workers, send tax dollars out of state, and provide the public with a poorer return on its investment.

___

Correction: The op-ed author is Hoylman, not Holyman.

Budget Beat – July 10, 2015

Check Out Fast Facts!

This summer we are launching a series of short publications to present the facts on issues of the day. Our premiere issue of Fast Facts is about the ongoing debate on the state’s prevailing wage. This quick read will give you everything you need to know on this important issue impacting West Virginia working families.

Here’s more, including what area contractors are saying about changes to the state’s prevailing wage, from West Virginia Public News Service.

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Letting Tax Credits Expire Will Hurt Working Families

Pro-work tax credits are helping thousands of West Virginia families make ends meet. Key provisions of two important anti-poverty credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), are set to expire and Congress needs to act to make these benefits permanent. Here’s more in our oped in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.

Did you know? A single mother with two children who works full time at the minimum wage – earning $14,500 – would lose her entire CTC of $1,725 if Congress fails to act.

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ICYMI – We Are Hiring!

The WVCBP has an immediate opening for a policy outreach coordinator. This key staff person will build our capacity through partnerships and the development of new relationships; help educate advocates, the media, and the public on policy proposals and issues; help mobilize communities around important public policy issues, produce opinion pieces, presentations, and other materials; and provide advocates, the media, policymakers and the public with timely, accessible, and credible research and analysis on issues impacting their communities.

Please share this complete job description with anyone who you think is interested and qualified for this challenging and rewarding position with full benefits and a competitive salary.

Registration Open for Policy Workshops

Have you registered yet? This year’s Policy Workshops are just around the corner. These day-long events are your opportunity to:

  • get top-notch leadership and policy training, 
  • meet other top community leaders and legislators from both parties, 
  • and get a chance to shape the hot button issues that will define the next legislative session. 

Check out the information below about the issues being discussed at each workshop, and follow the links to REGISTER NOW!

Eastern Regional Workshop in Davis, WV, July 22nd
Issue teams: Expungement, Jobs for Coal Miners, Affordable Housing, Traumatic Brain Injury, Move to Improve (Physical Activity in Schools!)

Southern Regional Workshop in Beckley, WV, August 3rd
Issue teams: Youth Mental Health, College Debt, Juvenile Justice, High Speed Internet, Foster Youth, Tax Reform

Central Regional Workshop in Huntington, WV, August 10th
Issue teams: Afterschool Education, Early Childhood Education, Opposing Right to Work, Shared-Use Agreements, Driver’s Licenses, Participatory Budgeting

Northern Regional Workshop in Weirton, WV, August 17th
Issue teams: APRN Nursing Reform; Foster Care Reform, State Earned Income Tax Credit, Oral Health, Child and Family Hunger.

Budget Beat – July 3, 2015

Congress Must Save Tax Credits that Help Veteran and Military Families

Congress has a chance this year to save key provisions of pro-work tax credits that help 15,000 veteran and military families make ends meet. This Fourth of July, let’s honor our veterans and men and women in uniform by making sure these tax credits continue to be there for them and their children.

 Twitter_Vets

Join the WVCBP Team!

The WVCBP has an immediate opening for a policy outreach coordinator. This key staff person will build our capacity through partnerships and the development of new relationships; help educate advocates, the media, and the public on policy proposals and issues; help mobilize communities around important public policy issues, produce opinion pieces, presentations, and other materials; and provide advocates, the media, policymakers and the public with timely, accessible, and credible research and analysis on issues impacting their communities.

Please share this complete job description with anyone who you think is interested and qualified for this challenging and rewarding position with full benefits and a competitive salary.

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Yes, We Should Tax Coal Like Natural Gas

This week the Select Committee on Tax Reform held the latest in its series of meetings, this time with a focus on local property taxation. The discussion turned to the difference in assessment of coal property and natural gas property. The current system gives coal an advantage that, if eliminated, would provide nearly $200 million in local property tax revenue to fund the state’s schools and other important programs. Here’s more in Ted’s blog post.

New Overtime Rules Proposed

Good news for workers this week with the Obama Administration announcing an update to the outdated overtime rule raising the annual salary threshold from $23,660 to $50,440. In 1975 the rule applied to over 60% of workers but, due to inflation, that number is now just 8%. Modernizing this rule will affect 20,000 West Virginia workers. Here’s more in Sean’s blog post.

Great WVPBS Series: Front Porch

Former WVCBP board member Rick Wilson continues to knock it out of the park in the WV Public Broadcasting series “Front Porch.” Here’s this week’s edition which covers the new Republican legislature’s work to repeal the state’s prevailing wage.

Registration Open for Policy Workshops

Get ready for the best Policy Workshops ever. These day-long events are your opportunity to: 

  • get top-notch leadership and policy training, 
  • meet other top community leaders and legislators from both parties, 
  • and get a chance to shape the hot button issues that will define the next legislative session. 

Spots are limited. Check out the information below about the issues being discussed at each workshop, and follow the links to REGISTER NOW!

Eastern Regional Workshop in Davis, WV, July 22nd
Issue teams: Expungement, Jobs for Coal Miners, Affordable Housing, Traumatic Brain Injury, Move to Improve (Physical Activity in Schools!)

Southern Regional Workshop in Beckley, WV, August 3rd
Issue teams: Youth Mental Health, College Debt, Juvenile Justice, High Speed Internet, Foster Youth, Tax Reform

Central Regional Workshop in Huntington, WV, August 10th
Issue teams: Afterschool Education, Early Childhood Education, Opposing Right to Work, Shared-Use Agreements, Driver’s Licenses, Participatory Budgeting

Northern Regional Workshop in Weirton, WV, August 17th
Issue teams: APRN Nursing Reform; Foster Care Reform, State Earned Income Tax Credit, Oral Health, Child and Family Hunger

Registration will close one week out from each event. The Policy Workshops are designed for people who really want to join one of the issue teams above, OR for people who want to come and learn more broadly about leadership, communications, and policy development.

policy workshop logo

Yes, We Should Tax Coal Property Like Natural Gas Property

On Monday, the Joint Select Committee on Taxation met again to discuss revising our state’s tax system. The focus of this meeting was on local property taxation, especially as it impacts the coal and natural gas industries. During the meeting, John Mairs, a lawyer for the coal industry, stated that he “would love to have their taxes assessed like the oil and gas industry.” Presumably, Mairs believes that the coal industry would pay less in property taxes if its property were assessed the same way as natural gas and oil property. However, this is not the case. The natural gas industry has a much higher effective property tax rate than the coal industry.

As Sean and I highlighted in this report, the effective property tax rate on the value of natural gas in West Virginia is about 3 percent compared to just about 1 percent for coal. This is largely because producing natural gas property in West Virginia is valued differently than active coal property. Unlike coal, active oil and gas property is appraised and assessed on both the royalty land-owner and the producer (or leaseholder). Currently, active coal property  being mined is taxed based only upon the royalty rate value of the property, which is typically 5.5 percent of the value, and not the “chattel real interest” or the leaseholders (coal producers) working interest value. This means that a large portion – 94.5 percent, after reducing for operating expenses  – of the value of active coal property is not being assessed and taxed. The result is that coal companies pay much less in property taxes than natural gas and oil companies even though they are paying more on their machinery and equipment.

In 2008, natural gas paid $58.3 million in property taxes based on a production value of about $2 billion – an effective rate of 2.97 percent. Meanwhile, coal paid $90.8 million based on a production value of $9.7 billion or just 0.94 percent. If coal paid the same effective property tax rate as natural gas, it would have paid approximately $288 million or $197 million more in local property taxes. So, yes, taxing coal property the same as natural gas property would be great, as it would be provide additional resources to maintain our highways, and could pay for other important programs that have seen their funding cut over the past several years.

20,000 West Virginians Would Be Eligible for Overtime Under New Proposal

Yesterday, the Obama administration’s Department of Labor proposed a new rule that will raise the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $50,440 by 2016, and index it for the future. This change will extend overtime protection to about 5 million workers in its first year, including 20,000 in West Virginia

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers eligible for overtime must be paid “time-and-a-half” or 1.5 times their regular pay rate for each hour of work per week over 40 hours. Currently, hourly workers in most service and blue-collar jobs are guaranteed the right to overtime pay.

For salaried workers, the right to overtime is determined by their pay and nature of work. Currently, salaried workers who earn below $455/week ($23,660/year) are eligible for overtime, but workers who earn more than $455/week can be exempted from overtime if their occupations are considered professional, administrative, or executive.

The current salary threshold has not kept pace with inflation or the changing economy. In 1975, the overtime salary threshold covered about 62 percent of all salaried workers, compared to just 8% today. Had the threshold kept pace with inflation since 1975, it would be about $52,000 today. The proposed threshold largely restores its lost value.

This calculator allows workers to see how much extra they can earn each week under the new rule.

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies for 25,000 West Virginians

The Supreme Court upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act today, protecting subsidies that make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans, and tens of thousands of West Virginians.

In a 6-3 ruling, the Court found that premium subsidies should be available both in states that have set up their own health insurance exchanges, and in states that use the federal exchange, like West Virginia.

The plaintiffs in King vs Burwell case contended that the under the law, premium subsidies should only be available in states with their own exchanges, not to those enrolled through the federal exchange. This argument was supported by a number of conservative politicians, including West Virginia’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

However, the Court rejected that argument, making subsidies available in all states, marking the second time the Supreme Court has upheld a key Affordable Care Act Provision.

West Virginia is one of 36 states using the federal exchange rather than setting up its own exchange. Had the Supreme Court’s ruling gone the other way, West Virginians in the federal exchange would have lost their premium subsidies, in some cases tripling the cost of health insurance.

The are approximately 33,000 people enrolled in health insurance plans through the exchange in West Virginia, with about 25,000 qualified for premium subsidies. In 2014, those with subsidized exchange plans in West Virginia saw their monthly premiums reduced from $415 to just $113, meaning that 78% of premium costs are covered by subsidies. At that rate, in 2016 the subsidies could save low and moderate income West Virginians over $185 million.

Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, West Virginia’s uninsured rate has plummeted from 17% to 6.6%, almost entirely due to the law. With the Supreme Court’s ruling today, that progress in insuring West Virginia’s population has been protected and the destabilization of the individual market has been prevented, and West Virginia remains one of the biggest Affordable Care Act success stories.

Budget Beat – June 19, 2015

This Father’s Day: Helping Working Fathers

Two working-family tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), are powerful tools for reducing children’s poverty and helping families put food on the table, while boosting the local economy.

About 13 million fathers in low- and moderate-income working families received either the EITC or the low-income portion of the CTC in 2012. About 72,000 of those fathers live right here in West Virginia.

It’s time to call on Congress to make permanent key provisions of the EITC and Child Tax Credit (CTC) instead of pushing these working dads into poverty.

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Reducing Greenhouse Gases in West Virginia

This week Downstream Strategies and the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the WVU College of Law released “The Clean Power Plan and West Virginia: Compliance Options and New Economic Opportunities,” a new report that describes strategies for West Virginia to meet the requirements of the proposed EPA Clean Power Plan rule.

The goal of the federal Clean Power Plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The report lays out ways in which West Virginia can meet that goal. Here’s more from West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

The Cost of Unhealthy Lifestyles

Earlier this month, Ted presented at the annual Try This conference in Buckhannon, WV. The topic of his presentation was Healthy Lifestyles and Economic Development.

His presentation focused on the benefits of a healthy population including lower health care costs and greater economic productivity.

In 2009, the cost of obesity alone cost West Virginia $1.2 billion.

Unhealthy Cycle Try This presentation

More Job Opportunities

Here are more job openings with the The Our Children, Our Future Campaign. For more, please see last week’s Budget Beat.

1. Looking for Try This VISTAs! Try This is an exciting movement to help knock WV off the top of the worst health lists (trythiswv.com). VISTAs are full-time, 35-hour/week, federal positions that receive a $449 stipend every two weeks plus some help with student loans. If you are interested, send a cover letter and resume to Stephen Smith (with VISTA in the subject heading) that clearly states your reason for wanting the position, your desired start date (June or August), the particular skills and experiences you want to bring to the organization, and what area(s) of the project you are most interested in working on, and why. Go here for more information.

2. Become an OCOF Volunteer or Intern! Interns/volunteers must give at least 10 hours/week for at least 4 weeks (though we encourage longer commitments). We have internships in a wide range of areas – community organizing, policy issue research and support, conference and event planning, policy advocacy, on-line media and activism, fundraising, strategy, and data management. If you are interested, please send a cover letter and resume to Stephen Smith clearly stating the time you have available, your specific interest areas, and a paragraph about what your ideal internship or volunteer experience would look like.

3. Jobs at KISRA. KISRA (Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action) has regular job postings up here: Current positions include a part-time culinary instructor.

4. Can’t knock on doors? Volunteer from your own computer two-five hours/week doing data entry.Contact Alexandra with “Data Volunteer” in the subject heading if you are interested in becoming one of our treasured data entry volunteers.