Local officials urge against health care reform in Washington

Published: May. 3, 2017 at 6:49 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Some House Republicans in Washington are pushing for a new health care plan that would repeal the Affordable Care Act.

While lawmakers work to make a decision, local health care advocates are urging them to vote no.

Officials from various health care groups all met Wednesday morning in Charleston to discuss the impact the bill would have.

One concern is that the plan would gut coverage for people with a pre-existing medical condition.

The bill allows each state to ask for a waiver. The waiver would allow states to roll back mandates that the Affordable Care Act put in place. If a state elected into the waiver program, health insurance companies could hike premiums for someone who has a pre-existing medical condition.

WSAZ reached out to West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio to see how the waiver program would work throughout the region if the bill ended up passing.

Kentucky officials say the decision to pursue a waiver would come at the Governor's discretion but lawmakers would have to approve the decision.

While Ohio officials did not comment on how the waiver would be handled in their state, they did say they are following what's happening in Washington closely.

WSAZ reached out to the Offices of the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner, but they still haven't given out a statement for how the waiver would be handled.

Another concern West Virginia health care advocates brought up is the cut to Medicaid expansion. They said that throughout the next 10 years, the bill would cut $4 billion in funding to the state.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said she isn't willing to let that happen.

"I'm concerned about what the house bill might do with that," Capito said Wednesday.

The House is expected to vote Thursday. If it passed it will move on to Capito and the rest of her peers to consider.