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Kentucky Enacts Work for Medicaid Rule



Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin enacted a new work requirement for recipients of Medicaid last week.  As a result, Kentucky is the first state to implement a work for Medicaid rule work authorized by President Trump.

Is this “the most transformational entitlement reform that has been seen in a quarter of a century,” as stated by Gov. Bevin?  Or is this a move that will hurt the people it is designed to help?

Who would be affected?

Under the work for Medicaid rule, able-bodied adults 19-64 would need to complete 80 hours of work. Work is considered community engagement.  It includes having a job, volunteering or training. Americans with disabilities, older Americans, children, and pregnant women would not have to meet the new requirement.

While Kentucky had reduced its uninsured numbers from double digits to single digits under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) under the new plan, nearly 100,000 are likely to lose coverage.

According to proponents it will help the poor

Supporters of Kentucky's work for Medicaid plan say it will will have positive impacts on Kentucians.  They argue the health and lives of the poor would improve.

Governor Bevin said, “There is dignity associated with earning the value of something that you receive.”

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Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator, said, “This is about helping those individuals rise out of poverty.”

The Work for Medicaid program may hurt the poor

The result of Kentucky's work  for Medicaid ruling may have negative impacts. Some may struggle to meet the requirement. Kentucky is expected to see a drop of 85,000 people from their Medicaid rolls.  In rural areas where opportunities for work, education and volunteering on limiting, the people of Kentucky may be forced to give up their benefits.

Bevin's rule would save 300 billion dollars but at what cost?

Who does this really affect?

Kentucky residents score poorly on health indicators. These indicators include:

  • cancer deaths
  • obesity,
  • cardiovascular disease
  • substance abuse.

Reasons for this include economic factors

  • poverty
  • median income
  • workforce participation

While the assumption is that most recipients are minorities, over 40% are white.

Under the increased insurance participation due to Obamacare, primary and preventative care visits to doctors had been up.  What happens when so many people lose coverage?

The result of requiring work for Medicaid is likely to hurt the people of Kentucky.  Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky, is up for re-election in 2018.  Governor Matt Bevin is must run to keep his seat in 2019.  The results of the work for Medicaid plan in Kentucky will begin to take effect the people of Kentucky start to reach the polls.



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