Editorials, Opinion

The Good, the Bad and the Stupid 6

Good: SB 577 is the resurrected insulin copay cap. Last year’s iteration, HB 4252, passed both chambers, but the House didn’t concur with the Senate’s changes before the session ended, so the bill died.

SB 577 might actually be improved: It limits the copay for insulin (even if the patient is on multiple types) to $35 per 30-day supply and to $100 for devices (even if the patient uses more than one kind of device) per 30-day supply. HB 4252 did not contain the language that covers multiple types of drugs and/or devices, which meant that patients would have paid $35 per type of insulin and/or $100 per device.

The only thing SB 577 doesn’t have is the $250 copay limit on insulin pumps (though it only covered one pump per two years). Without insurance, insulin pumps cost between $4,000 and $7,000, with additional costs for infusion lines, syringes and batteries. With insurance, patients may have to pay up to 50% of the pump’s cost — still in the thousands of dollars.

This year’s bill has passed the Senate and has been sent to the House. Perhaps delegates will consider adding the copay cap on insulin pumps. Even if they don’t, we hope they don’t dally this time and let such important legislation expire.

Bad: HB 2210, to require all registered voters to produce a photo ID in order to vote. Basically, HB 2210 would override the existing state code that lays out acceptable forms of ID, which include certain kinds of photo IDs, but also include voter registration cards, birth certificates, SNAP or TANF cards, utility bills or bank statements from less than six months prior and Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security cards, among others.

This bill, and others like it, are a direct reaction to former President Trump’s false claims of election fraud — including his preposterous (and since widely echoed) claim that thousands of illegal immigrants voted.

Remember: You still have to be registered to vote, which involves its own identification process that includes having the personal information you’ve provided verified by the county clerk against its records. Showing some type of ID — photo or not — on Election Day is just additional corroboration.

Photo ID requirements, however, will make it harder for people to vote. Not everyone has a driver’s license, passport or other form of photo ID — particularly seniors and low-income individuals who don’t drive. It is possible to get a non-license photo ID from your local DMV, but not everyone knows that. Plus, we all know how difficult it is to get anything from the DMV, not to mention the sheer amount of time it takes.

We find it ironic that West Virginia’s top officials have spent the last few years crowing about how secure our elections are, then try to implement so-called “security” measures. Photo IDs will not make West Virginia’s elections any more secure, but it will prevent otherwise qualified individuals from casting their ballots.

Stupid: HB 2619, to essentially expand the Hope Scholarship to all West Virginia students by eliminating limiting eligibility criteria from the law governing the program.

We’ve made our objections to the Hope Scholarship known from the start. Our primary concern has always been that the program takes tax dollars from public education and gives it to individuals to use for a variety of private and home school options. By proposing to open the Hope Scholarship to all students, legislators are basically defunding public education under the guise of “school choice.”

How do lawmakers expect West Virginia’s schools to improve if money is constantly siphoned away from public education?

The short answer: They don’t. Rather, if the public schools system continues to flounder, it gives legislators all the ammunition they need to promote expanding taxpayer-funded private and religious schools, which seems to be their ultimate goal.