By March 22, 2017 Read More →

Justice talks Medicaid cuts

The Dominion Post

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — The face-off over the budget continued March 21 as Gov. Jim Justice painted a foreboding picture of proposed Medicaid cuts and announced the Capitol state-of-emergency dome light would be lit to announce a statewide health crisis.

Justice gathered the press in his conference room to highlight the consequences of a legislative proposal to cut $50 million from Medicaid as part of its plan to meet its $4.05 billion budget, along with $50 million cuts each to K-12 and higher education. (Justice’s proposed budget is $4.5 billion.)

Justice accused legislative leaders of making a “cowardly move” of leaving the details of the cuts to him.

“First of all, those are fantasy numbers.” With lost federal matching funds, the cuts come closer to $185 million. “The level of distress and pain that will be to our people is unbelievable. … It’s basically a cut and run philosophy. ‘We want you to cut and we’re going to run, and we’re not going to tell you what we want to cut.’ ”

Justice offered a handout with five options for Medicaid cuts. “They’re terrible in every way.”

Without a budget, the government shuts down July 1. Asked if he’d be willing to veto a budget he doesn’t like and allow a shutdown, he said, “We’re either going to shut down or we’re going to die down. There’s no difference to me.”

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