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Healthcare is a major issue for West Virginians. Not only for state workers with the rising costs of PEIA, but healthcare costs are up for everyone.
Unfortunately, Congress's attempt to fix these issues were not in the interest of most working West Virginians.
From WV Gazette Mail:
The AHCA would have stripped health care coverage from 122,800 West Virginians. For those who might have been able to retain their health care coverage, the AHCA would have raised premiums by double digits.
Though a large portion of West Virginians stood to lose in some way, our state’s most vulnerable were the ones under the greatest threat. Astonishingly, the AHCA would have allowed states to eliminate provisions that prevent insurers from charging more to people with pre-existing conditions. That means the 800,000 West Virginians who have a pre-existing condition could have legally been charged exorbitantly higher prices, while surcharges for things like asthma, pregnancy, arthritis, and cancer would have spiked tens of thousands of dollars.
Furthermore, the bill would have allowed states to opt out from the requirement that all insurers provide a set of 10 essential health benefits, including maternity care, hospitalizations, and mental and behavioral health. This, coupled with the drastic proposed cuts to health programs, would have made it harder for our state and others to tackle the opioid addiction crisis gripping our nation.
Not even the elderly were spared in this bill. The AHCA tried to impose what AARP called an “age tax” on older Americans, letting insurers charge people over age 50 up to five times more. In West Virginia, annual out-of-pocket costs for older people stood to increase by as much as $12,369 by 2026 had the AHCA passed.