In his State of the State address Wednesday, Governor Jim Justice called for a 5 percent raise for state workers, and proposed help for the PEIA, in regard to reimbursements to hospitals.

The state has enjoyed record budget surpluses the past few years, but legislators want to hold the line on spending. Justice’s budget does not include increases to hire new child protective service and other workers.

Kelly Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, weighed in: “We are seeing the consequences of that policy decision every single day. We have shortages of CPS, correctional officers, teachers. We have a PEIA crisis pending, both because of funding for the program at current levels and reimbursement rates. We’ve got a childcare crisis. These are the real-life consequences of that flat budget.”

The governor proposed that PEIA reimburse medical providers at 110 percent of what Medicare pays. This is an urgent issue, as Wheeling Hospital recently announced that it will refuse to serve PEIA patients.

Full stories on the State of the State and Senate actions on Metronews.