CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia health departments dealing with shrinking federal funding will not be able to charge for HIV testing.
In the last two years, West Virginia has lost more than $600,000 of federal money for HIV-AIDS programs.
A bill that passed the Senate unanimously would have let health departments charge people or insurers for HIV testing. For those without insurance, tests would have been provided for free or on a sliding fee scale.
The bill was shot down Monday by the House Health Committee.
Delegates were concerned that people would read that health departments were charging for tests and would not get tested.
As the Affordable Care Act leads to more people being insured, the federal government is encouraging local departments to charge insurers for services that had been taxpayer funded.
The state Senate unanimously passed a bill Friday that would allow local health departments to charge people for tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The health departments will charge on a sliding scale and will continue to provide free testing for those that cannot afford it.
Local health departments had been providing those tests free of charge. But in the last two years West Virginia has lost more than $600,000 in federal funding for its HIV-AIDS program. The state Department of Health and Human Resources is anticipating more federal cuts.
Because of the budget cuts and the coming implementation of the Affordable Care Act, states are being encouraged to transfer costs to insurers.