CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Supporters of the health care overhaul say West Virginia has something to gain economically from expanding Medicaid.The federal law calls on states to open this health insurance program to more of the working poor. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law also made this provision optional.West Virginians for Affordable Health Care plan to discuss the potential jobs and economic activity from expansions at a Tuesday state Capitol press conference.Even without expanding, Medicaid has put increasing pressure on the state budget. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is awaiting an accounting firm's analysis as he weighs whether to expand the program.
West Virginia has the 12th-largest Medicaid program among the states when measure against population. Around 330,000 people are covered, and full expansion would add another 130,000.