Lawmakers’ Hearts Are in Right Place

Efforts by West Virginia legislators to ensure various public assistance programs are not abused sometimes are criticized as alleged attacks on the poor. Conservatives in particular are accused routinely of engaging in “war against women.”

Neither claim could be farther from the truth of what is in the heads and hearts of virtually everyone in the state Senate and House of Delegates. Action they took Friday, making it a priority during the final two days of the legislative session, makes that clear.

Both chambers approved Senate Bill 546, which expands Medicaid income limits to help more pregnant women and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to cover more moderate-income families.

Lawmakers were told the change will help about 800 pregnant women a year, most of whom would have no insurance otherwise.

SB 546 was approved by the House in a 97-3 vote. Senate senators were unanimous in support, at 34-0.

We have pointed out many times that catching those who collect public benefits illegally and, frankly, immorally, saves money that can be used to help the truly deserving. SB 546 is an example of one way that can happen.

Gov. Jim Justice should sign the bill into law. And those who so often label legislators as uncaring or even actively adversarial toward low- and moderate-income women should take note: Of 134 votes on SB 546, 131 were in favor of helping first, asking questions later.

Good for them!

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