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Policy Work and Successes

Changing laws to create a more equitable healthcare system is a lot of work! In the past five years, our coalition has flooded the Capitol with phone calls, sent letters, met with legislators, wrote op eds and hosted healthcare events. Personally impacted folks, like you, worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to build strong coalitions around health issues.  

Insulin Copay Cap

In 2019, we helped organize a bus trip to Canada, where West Virginians with diabetes saved up to 90% on insulin costs, drawing attention to skyrocketing drug prices in the U.S. The next year we passed our first state insulin copay cap at $100 a month for people with commercial insurance. Since then, we haven’t stopped working to lower that cap. And this year in a powerful bipartisan effort, we got the copay cap lowered to $35 a month! And we went above and beyond and included a $100 diabetic supplies copay cap! This covers glucometers, test strips, lancets, insulin pump supplies and continuous glucose monitors. Besides the relief to families and better health for diabetics, the bills that start in state legislatures often end up in the federal narrative. And a copay cap on insulin for those on Medicare just went into effect for the whole country! In addition, there are a number of other federal bills addressing the extraordinarily high cost of being a diabetic. These are important first steps towards lowering the cost of other pharmaceuticals and supplies that cause great financial hardship on Americans. 

Dental Health Coverage

Thanks to our advocates, the Coalition won the fight to provide Dental Coverage for adults who receive Medicaid. It means that 300,000 more West Virginians, who were doing without the preventative or restorative work they needed, now have a $1000 benefit. As we know, dental health is an important issue for many people in our region. And many jobs available to low-wage working people don’t provide dental coverage. We believe that dental health is part of overall health and should not be separated into an extra type of insurance. Now, they will be able to get preventative dental care, and won’t have to suffer the indignity of having their teeth pulled after it’s too late. That’s a huge win! But we aren’t finished, since we won, we have been working to raise that benefit to $2000 a year and we are following other bills to improve oral health for our citizens!       

Cleared the I/DD Waiver Waitlist

We won the fight to clear the I/DD waiver waiting list in the state, which will provide home- and community-based services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by clearing the I/DD Waiver Waitlist.  Prior to this families had to wait months, and often years, to get the services they needed. This was particularly harmful to young children who required services, because early intervention is vital to giving these kids the best head start in life we can offer. Thanks to an outpouring of citizen action and the Capitol, the legislature set aside $19.8 million to support all 1,084 individuals currently on that list.

Extended Postpartum Care

Another very important win was working to get a bill passed that would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months for those on Medicaid. This is another state-inspired bill that led to federal reform. West Virginia passed this bill in 2021, a year before it became federal policy. Besides addressing the reality that most mental and physical health issues happen the first year after birth, part of our focus on the bill was to make sure people in recovery didn’t lose their coverage during these critical months to ensure them the best chance at a positive outcome for mother and baby.