W.Va. officials to discuss Medicaid changes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia lawmakers hope to hear from state officials about future plans for the increasingly expensive Medicaid health care program.

Officials are considering managed care for some of the sickest people who rely on this government program. This approach is similar to health maintenance organizations found in the private market.

Bureau of Medical Services officials are scheduled to address lawmakers Monday.

Advocates for the poor and disabled are questioning the state's approach. They say there may be better and more cost-effective alternatives.

Nearly all 50 states cover at least some of their people on Medicaid through managed care. Several are also looking at expanding this coverage to people with disabilities.

The rising cost of health care is also one reason why Medicaid programs are putting increasing pressure on state budgets.

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