In the first three years of the program, West Virginia is responsible for $5 million each year, a figure Alsop said is very manageable. By 2020, that share increases to about $65 million, according to the CCRC report.
Tomblin said the state could afford the extra cost.
There are several state-funded health care programs with participants who would be covered by the expansion, Samples said. As those people transition into Medicaid, those state funds can be used to offset the increased cost, Samples said.
A recent report received by the Governor's office that criticizes the state Department of Health and Human Resources also said the state could save more than $50 million by implementing more efficient practices. Samples said that savings could go toward the extra costs.
"West Virginia must protect itself and may be forced to discontinue providing health care benefits to the expansion population," Samples cautioned, reading from another report.
Without the expansion, the report said West Virginia businesses would pay about $6 million a year in fines for failing to provide employees with coverage.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., applauded Tomblin's decision.
"Medicaid is a lifeline for so many West Virginia families. It's affordable and efficient. It creates jobs and wages. Currently a quarter of West Virginians count on it ... West Virginians deserve nothing less," Rockefeller said in a statement.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he would support Tomblin's decision. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and state Senate President Jeff Kessler also sent out news releases in support of the decision, while other state Democrats attended Tomblin's announcement.
The state Republican Party and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican, decried the decision.
GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas called it a sad day and questioned whether the state could afford the change.
Morrisey, a vocal opponent of the federal health care overhaul, did the same.
"While paying for the state's portion of this expansion will be daunting enough today, does anyone really believe that the federal government will maintain its same level of Medicaid funding in the future when it is staring at a $16 trillion debt and desperately needs to reduce spending?" Morrisey said in a press release.
To execute the decision, Tomblin is asking the Department of Health and Human Resources to create a plan for expanding Medicaid eligibility.
The request also requires DHHR to look at creating a co-pay system for Medicaid participants, while moving all aspects of public health care to the four health care providers that compiled the state's managed care system, called Mountain Health Trust.
Acting DHHR secretary Rocco Fucillo said the department has worked for months on hwo to move forward with a Medicaid expansion.
The DHHR's report will be ready by the June 1 deadline and department staff will be ready to take on the extra workload that accompanies expansion, he said.
The newly eligible are able to enroll in Medicaid starting Oct. 1. Coverage begins Jan. 1, 2014.Reporter Dave Boucher can be reached at 304-348-4843 or david.bouc...@dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.
Other Top HeadlinesMarshall faculty votes no confidence in Kopp