Medicaid, exchange answers elude W.Va. lawmakers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia has yet to decide whether to open its Medicaid program to more low-income residents.

Program officials told lawmakers Monday that they're still studying the potential cost and benefits.

That has some lawmakers questioning whether the Legislature should take the lead on the question during their 60-day session. It begins Wednesday.

The federal health care overhaul calls on states to make Medicaid available to more of the working poor. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law said states couldn't lose funding if they balk at expanding Medicaid.

West Virginia officials also haven't finished drafting a plan for running a health care exchange. This provision of the federal overhaul aims to help individuals and small businesses find coverage in the private market. That plan is due Friday.

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