Miners Discuss Lack Of Action On Black Lung By W.Va. Lawmakers


On this West Virginia Morning, coal miners with black lung disease met recently to discuss the 2020 legislative session, and we hear from Aetna Better Health, which was selected last year by the state Department of Health and Human Resources to help manage health services for foster children.

The West Virginia Legislature recently passed a major foster care bill, which provides more resources for foster care parents among other provisions.

This bill is part of ongoing reforms to the state’s overwhelmed child welfare system, as the state works to manage the futures of nearly 7,000 children in state custody. Last year the DHHR announced it had selected Aetna Better Health to help manage health services for foster children.

A managed care model is essentially privatized government services. In most states, including West Virginia, Medicaid is managed through similar private care models. 

This shift to a managed care model is a result of House Bill 2010, which was sponsored by Republicans and passed into law last year.

Roxy Todd sat down with two of the managers of Aetna’s new managed care system, Todd White, CEO of Aetna West Virginia and Kathy Szafran, senior project manager for managed care with Aetna Better Health.

The 2020 legislative session has come to a close with no new legislation addressing black lung benefits. The Kanawha County chapter of the Black Lung Association lobbied legislators this year and met to discuss what the future looks like for  miners. Reporter Caitlin Tan has more.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.