WV Center on Budget and Policy > Blog > Affordable Care Act > West Virginia Tops List of States Benefitting from Obamacare

West Virginia Tops List of States Benefitting from Obamacare

West Virginians rejoice!  Rarely does our Mountain State top national rankings on good measures, but a report out this week shows that West Virginia, along with two other states, leads the country in the percent of uninsured state residents who will qualify for health insurance assistance due to Obamacare. Now, before you let your initial partisan reaction get the best of you, take a moment to consider the map below:


Source: “Eligibility for Assistance and Projected Changes in Coverage Under the ACA: Variation Across States.” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, October 2013. Map via ThinkProgress.org: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/10/09/2756641/gop-govs-medicaid-obamacare-subsidies/

West Virginia, along with Michigan and Kentucky, will see 81 percent of its currently uninsured residents receive some sort of assistance in getting health insurance, either by qualifying for Medicaid or tax-subsidies in the Marketplace.  This is not small news.  Currently, there are an estimated 270,000 West Virginians without health insurance.  Based on this report, around 219,000 of them will qualify for assistance which is a pretty big deal since cost is overwhelmingly the number one reason why the uninsured don’t have health coverage.

The flip-side of this is a state like Texas, where only 34 percent of its currently uninsured residents will receive any sort of assistance, and that will strictly come in the form of tax credits on the Marketplace since Texas Governor Rick Perry opted not to expand Medicaid, purely in an effort to defy President Obama.  Texas leads the country in the number and percentage of uninsured state residents, where more than 25 percent of Texans don’t have health insurance, including an embarrassingly high 17 percent of children! Perry’s decision not to expand Medicaid in a state with over six million uninsured residents, 1.7 million of whom earn less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and would therefore qualify for expanded Medicaid, means that 1.7 million Texans, nearly the entire state population of West Virginia, will be too poor to qualify for assistance.  Yes, you read that right, these people will be too poor to get assistance from their government.

Fortunately, we don’t live in Texas and we have a governor and state legislature who were able to look beyond the Obama in Obamacare long enough to see that expanding Medicaid was both the right thing to do for our most vulnerable West Virginians and the economically smart thing to do for the state and its labor force.

Cheers to being on top of a good national ranking!

15 Responses to “West Virginia Tops List of States Benefitting from Obamacare”

  1. David Persinger says:

    This is very good news for WV. Hats off to Governor Tomblin and the state legislators who did the right thing in supporting the state’s most vulnerable residents. Here in Ohio, our GOP controlled legislature is blocking Governor Kasich’s proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility purely out of partisan spite. Never mind that several hundred thousand Ohioans would benefit from access to health insurance and the state as whole would benefit from healthier, more productive residents. It’s a sad situation, and I hope enough legislators come around this month to do the right thing.

    • Chad Greene says:

      We all know how healthy and productive people dependent on welfare are. With this level of imbalance between those who pay and those who receive, it wont be possible to support any kind of healthcare for anyone.

    • CECIL says:

      this has been a common for generations in wv however the war on coal has increased the numbers by the on going epa shut down on mines which employee miners and every 8 jobs which is connected with coal.

      the fact people will not work when generation after generation lay around on welfare. it sad to say only cutting back on these free loaders is the only way to get people in the habit of getting a real job if they can get one due to the aca aka Obama care. I left wv in 2011 and glad I did. a beautiful state with no jobs. now the lowest in housing cost will get lower and lower with the war on coal. epa another BAD dept. of us govt. go to china and make them comply with the emmissions.

      • Mark says:

        You’re right in a lot of respects, Cecil. It stinks that coal is the engine of West Virginia’s economy and livelihood, but that it’s burning creates such health and environmental problems that threaten our children and grandchildren. In my opinion, we need to accelerate carbon-capture technology to make coal cleaner, but also diversify the economy and provide training for those that are forced to leave the industry for environmental reasons.

    • Sonof1776 says:

      Are you kidding? This is nothing to celebrate. The ACA is nothing more than a Cloward-Piven scheme to crash the US dollar. Basically, overwhelm the welfare system and collapse the economic system. Entitlement programs (like SS, Medicare, Medicaid) create slaves out of the people who depend on them because they are essentially single-issue voters and will always vote for the candidates promising them the most benefits (i.e. they won’t bite the hands that feed them). It’s sad that you support the enslavement of fellow Americans and doom the producers of American society to a lifetime of indentured servitude.

      Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!

  2. Jeff VanKirk says:

    West Virginia is tops in subsidies….nothing to brag about. Read the first paragraph of the actual article this propaganda links to….


  3. Brad says:

    It was never Obama care in the first place. The republicans initially called it Universal Healthcare. That name, Obama Care was given and created by the GOP and the Media, to bring a negative reflection of the Affordable Healthcare Act without using the name affordable health care act. Because how evil would the GOP be if they were telling everyone they are fighting against the Affordable Health Care act. Its a better selling point if they use Obama Care.
    But I see this as good news for those in WV that need health insurance, but its not a positive to the state, because it just verifies that the state is still one of the unhealthiest and poorest in the nation.

  4. Chad Greene says:

    So you are excited that the government will pay for some of the insurance cost it is requiring people to purchase. How merciful of them.

  5. Chad Greene says:

    Actually, if 81% of West Virginians will qualify for assistance in paying for their required-by-law health insurance that means 19% will have to pay to cover this. The entire map shows this will collapse.

    • Mark says:

      Actually, 81% of the uninsured are eligible for assistance, not 81% of all West Virginians. So, that’s less than 20% of the population as a whole. And many of these uninsured will gain health insurance through the expansion of Medicaid, which is a joint state-federal program. So both West Virginians and Americans as a whole will support these subsidies. Which I’m happy to do, as it means that the uninsured are less likely to use emergency rooms and more likely to get preventative care and infections treated early.

  6. Donna Parrish says:

    West Virginians rejoice! – NOT!! I guess I am part of the remaining 19% that gets NO help and NO health insurance —- unless I want to pay over $7,000 a year for CRAP insurance and NO subsidy OR my only OTHER choice is pay “their” fine or tax or whatever “they” want to call it. But I should’ve known – my husband and I work 12-18 hr days mostly 7 days a week and have worked since high school. I guess we are the remaining 19% that will be paying for the 81% – SAME OLE SAME OLE. Gotta go now – gotta get to work!!!

  7. Fred Ricksburg says:

    You realize that the taxpayer has a hell of a lot of burden to bear for the wagon riding folks. Good that we can give so much away. How about being self sufficient. This is a good reason for folks that work to move to Texas.

  8. I’m a farmer who also happens to be pregnant with my third child. Under the current ridiculous reasoning that WV uses, I’m too “rich” to qualify for health coverage with this pregnancy. The reason? Because a lot of the money we’ve invested back into our farm over the past year still counts as income according to the Department of Health and Human Resources. So though my family of four lives off of about $25,000 a year, DHHR says we made $70,000 this past year. I’m glad the Universal Health Care act will give me the chance to have my pregnancy covered at an affordable rate (though since my baby is due in January, who knows whether we’ll actually be covered yet). We can’t even afford catastrophic health care right now. I think everyone should give it a chance to work for a couple years before deciding it’s the worse thing that’s happened to the USA in years.

    • Sonof1776 says:

      Sunshine Vortigern… here’s a thought, quit having children that you cannot afford to buy insurance for and take responsibility for the choices YOU have made that have contributed to your current situation because, quite frankly, I’m sick of paying $25,000 a year in income taxes for people who are not self-reliant and depend on MY tax dollars for their entitlements. How would you feel if the government took about 25% of your farm to redistribute to us “poor” people who don’t have good soil or enough land to grow our own food? Do you have any livestock we could redistribute as well?

  9. PR says:

    As I understand it, WV only has one insurer to choose from under the ACA. If this is true, how is this beneficial to the other 19%? And if that 19% is already not paying for insurance but are now being forced to pay for it, how is this helpful to them? They are now being forced to take more money from their paychecks.

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