MORGANTOWN, W. Va.— As the House of Representatives debates changes to the Affordable Care Act, West Virginia University experts weigh in possible effects of the bill on the state’s residents, healthcare system and economy.

“The health care sector is more than 15 percent of employment in West Virginia. As a result, any changes from Washington that affect health care, have the potential to affect the state’s economy in significant ways, and should be evaluated carefully, keeping in mind the potential for serious economic effects. Additionally, we have one of the most unhealthy population in the nation, and a healthy workforce is central to economic development.”— John Deskins, director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research and an associate professor in the College of Business and Economics

Deskins can be reached at 304.293.7876 or [email protected].

“Most dramatically for the State of West Virginia, the AHCA phases out the Medicaid expansion that has benefited close to 200,000 West Virginians. It also severely reduces funding over time for the state’s traditional Medicaid program. Moreover, the AHCA contains provisions that could dramatically reduce the amount of benefits included in insurance plans and sick individuals, those with pre-existing conditions or working in certain industries, will be subject to additional premium increases. Examples include individuals with sleep apnea and substance abuse problems, as well as coal miners and loggers.”— Simon Haeder, assistant professor in the West Virginia University John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy & Politics and the Department of Political Science.

Haeder’s research focuses on healthcare and health policy (including the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare, provider networks, provider quality and insurance regulation), regulatory politics, and state and local government. 

He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 559.908.2704.

"It's crucial to the health and economy of the people of West Virginia that we take the time to study the impact of any changes to the ACA. We have helped increase access and coverage for the needs of our vulnerable citizens, pregnant women, children and those with pre-existing illness through Medicaid expansion, which we want to continue. West Virginians gained the most from the expansion of healthcare coverage and have the most at risk if reform is not done thoughtfully." —Clay Marsh, M.D., vice president and executive dean of Health Sciences 

Marsh leads the academic health sciences center of West Virginia University – including five schools – dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health – and numerous allied health programs and clinical operations around West Virginia. A national leader in personalized medicine and in pulmonary and critical care medicine, Marsh has concentrated his efforts in determining how to help individuals stay healthy and how to create ecosystems to make this easy. 

Media requests for Marsh should be directed to Bill Case at [email protected], 304.293.8045, or 304.276-8559 (cell).

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.