Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Local Leaders Talk Health Care in Wheeling

Photo by Scott McCloskey U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va, left, talks with Mills Group Project Manager Lance Muscara, right, in front of the future corporate headquarters of The Health Plan in downtown Wheeling Thursday, as Richard Legg, vice president of benefit services for The Health Plan, looks on.

WHEELING — Improving the Affordable Care Act was one of the topics discussed Thursday when U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., met with city leaders and representatives from The Health Plan.

After a meeting at The Health Plan’s ancillary offices in the Horne Building, Capito made a brief visit to the downtown site where the insurer’s new headquarters is under construction.

Capito said they had “a very helpful discussion” of ways to improve the Affordable Care Act. She said the conversation yielded “some good ideas” that she plans to take to Capitol Hill when Congress returns from its spring break.

“Health care is going to be one of the topics of discussion (in Congress),” Capito said.

The senator, though, said she hopes an extension of the Miners Protection Act will be addressed first. The current act expires April 30, but pending legislation seeks to preserve health and pension benefits for retired coal miners and their families.

Regarding the next priority, she said, “We have some huge problems with the ACA. We want to fix that.”

Capito said she and The Health Plan representatives discussed the Medicaid program in general and Medicaid expansion specifically.

She said, “The Medicaid expansion in West Virginia is doing a lot of good things, especially in dealing with opioids and mental health. We talked about ways to make sure we preserve that and also maybe make it a lot better.”

Capito received an overview of The Health Plan’s general operations and learned details of the firm’s plans for its new headquarters. Noting the move will bring 400 jobs to Wheeling, she said, “That is significant for the area.”

Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott and City Manager Robert Herron were among the people who met with the senator. She said they talked about economic development in Wheeling, Ohio County and the Northern Panhandle. Capito, a Glen Dale native, said Wheeling’s downtown revitalization is “awesome to see.”