West Virginia to Mull Public Health Plan Cuts in Budget Spat

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia is revisiting the idea of larger cuts to state employee and retiree health plans as a state budget stalemate drags on.

West Virginia’s Public Employee Insurance Agency Finance Board is meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss options amid a budget fight that has seen funding options for health plans die, including a higher tax on tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

In December, the board approved plans to cut $120 million from health plans, which would affect state employees, teachers and retirees. They would affect the 2017 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin have not yet reached a budget agreement. The House of Delegates has resisted tax increases, including the tobacco tax.

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