24 March 2010

Health Care and West Virginia (Updated)

The Charleston Gazette and Public Broadcasting are among those reporting on what the recently passed federal health care legislation will mean for the Mountain State.

The Associated Press covered President Barack Obama's signing of the "massive, nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul," meant to "for the first time cement insurance coverage as the right of every U.S. citizen and begin to reshape the way virtually all Americans receive and pay for treatment."

Among other relevant provisions, The Gazette says the bill will provide funding for "medical school residencies in rural areas," and to expand both "low-cost community health center care," and "the number of doctors who can work off their student loans by practicing in underserved rural areas." It also provides "free wellness screenings for West Virginia's 372,000 Medicare recipients" and allows more poor adults to seek coverage through Medicaid.

Public Broadcasting (audio here) cites the increased Medicaid eligibility as well as "tax credits for people who are buying insurance on the open market" and "a provision to require all restaurants with more than twenty locations to post calorie counts on their menus."

The legislation also included language proposed by U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., regarding black lung benefits. Both The Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail report on that provision, with the latter relaying criticism from the state Chamber of Commerce and BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co.

AP also fact-checks some of the more prominent allegations, pro and con, surrounding the new law. FactCheck.org does the same, while Politifact chronicles the Top 5 Lies about the legislation and the Top 10 Facts to know now that it has passed.

AP also sets the stage for Senate action on the House-passed "fix-it bill" to the new law, while reporting separately on the prospects for the federal lawsuit filed by 13 state attorneys general seeking to overturn it.

reports on the statement from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., on the legislation.

Update: The president of Mountain State Blue Cross-Blue Shield, West Virginia's most prominent private insurer, assesses the signed bill for MetroNews. With audio.

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