Yesterday’s news event with the largest impact upon West Virginians was undoubtedly the ruling by a federal judge in Texas that the entirety of Obamacare was unconstitutional. (Hundreds of thousands of West Virginians will lose their health insurance if the ruling is upheld.) Here are the related front-page headlines from major U.S. newspapers:
The New York Times:
Health Care Act Is Struck Down by Federal Judge
The Washington Post:
Texas judge rules entire ACA is unconstitutional
The Boston Globe:
Judge strikes down Affordable Care Act
Today's front page of the Wheeling Intelligencer does not cover the judge’s decision. Here’s the largest headline on this morning's front page:
WVNCC Regains Ownership of City Lot
(The article documents a court decision that occurred 8 days ago. Additionally, a large picture of an empty lot accompanies the story.)
To its credit, the Intelligencer does carry the first 40% of the AP version of the Obamacare story on page 5. Unfortunately, what is dropped includes the impact ending Obamacare might have. For example, here are the first two paragraphs that were discarded:
Legal expert Timothy Jost, a supporter of the health law, said O’Connor’s ruling would have repercussions for nearly all Americans if it stands. If the entire health law is invalidated, popular provisions that benefit Medicare beneficiaries and people with employer coverage would also be scrapped. That could include the section that allows parents to keep young adult children on their coverage until age 26.
About 20 million people have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote. Currently, about 10 million have subsidized private insurance through the health law’s insurance markets, while an estimated 12 million low-income people are covered through its Medicaid expansion.
The original AP article also concludes with the AMA’s reaction:
The American Medical Association called O’Connor’s ruling an “unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections.”
(Note -- Obamacare will remain in place while the decision is appealed.)
If upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, West Virginia would be major loser. Last year the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy reported that West Virginia would be the 2nd most affected state by the repeal of ACA. In September, they documented the effects upon West Virginia’s economy”:
Not only has Medicaid expansion increased access to health care for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians so they can stay healthy and live productive lives, but the expansion provided a much-needed boost to our rural economies.
By the way, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who was one of the 19 Republican AG’s who brought the court challenge (and who may have lost his senate race because of it), is happy with the decision:
Yes, because we've all seen what a great job Republicans have done with health care for the past two years when they controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress.