It sounds like progress, but it might not be.
Low reimbursement rates for Medicare patients have caused an increasing number of physicians to opt out of that program.
Melinda Beck of The Wall Street Journal reported this week that only 81 percent of the nation's family doctors accepted new Medicare patients last year.
"Some experts attribute the rise in defections to Medicare payment rates that haven't kept pace with inflation and the threat of more cuts to come," she wrote.
"Some doctors say Medicare's reimbursement rates - as low as $58 for a 15-minute office visit - force them to see 30 or more patients a day to make ends meet."
So West Virginia used borrowed federal money to raise grossly inadequate reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medicaid patients to rates that physicians say are inadequate to cover the costs of serving Medicare patients.
ORGANIZERS of the August 14-17 Upper Kanawha Valley Homecoming Festival are sponsoring a timed coal-shoveling contest - an authentic cultural event if there ever was one.
For $10, entrants can remind themselves and everyone else how hard everybody's grandpa worked in the coal mines to support their wives and children in coal camps.
First-prize winner of the homecoming contest will get $500 in cash. Second and third-place finishers get cash prizes, too. Call 304 595-5991 for information.
Want to get a feel of the backbreaking labor that put your family on the road to a better tomorrow? This is how to do it.