Gov. Matt Bevin has requested a waiver to make changes to the Medicaid program. It could put at risk Kentucky’s successful health-coverage expansion and significant health gains in the last two years.
Kentucky has led the nation in reducing the rate of uninsured, dropping from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 7.5 percent in 2015. This translates into almost 440,000 people gaining coverage.
The majority who benefit from Medicaid expansion are working adults in low-wage jobs without access to employer coverage. The majority of those who aren’t working outside of the home are caregivers or students. This increase in health-care access has reduced expensive hospitalizations and visits to emergency rooms.
Many features of Bevin’s proposal would make it harder to get health care, including not allowing coverage until the first day of the month after enrollment, requiring recipients to obtain employer-sponsored coverage and eliminating medical transportation for many adults who live in rural areas.
The proposal attempts to turn Medicaid into a jobs program, without creating any jobs. If we want to help people become more self-sufficient, we need to increase the minimum wage and grow better jobs.
Medicaid expansion is working for Kentucky. Let’s build on its success to move Kentucky’s health, economy and quality of life forward.