W.Va. diocese joins call for expanding Medicaid - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

W.Va. diocese joins call for expanding Medicaid

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Supporters of expanding Medicaid in West Virginia now include the head of its Roman Catholic community.

Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is urging Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to cover more low-income residents through that program.

Tomblin is one of only two Democratic governors who have yet to decide whether to heed this call by the federal health care law.

Nearly two-thirds of West Virginians without insurance would qualify, around 166,000 people. Expansion advocates estimate at least 100,000 would enroll.

Tomblin is awaiting an analysis of the pros and cons of expanding. Bransfield wrote him on Friday.

The bishop cited deep concerns about health and wellbeing in the state. He said Catholic teaching supports adequate and affordable health care for all.

West Virginia has more than 80,000 Catholics.

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