GOP Governor Threatens To Take Away Health Care From 500,000 People

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin threatened to take away Medicaid from nearly 500,000 people if his changes are challenged in court.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) is threatening to end Medicaid expansion for nearly 500,000 people if the changes he made to the program are questioned in court.

According to the changes laid out by Bevin and approved by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, all "able-bodied" recipients are required to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week in order to gain access to medical coverage. If not, they could be “locked out” of coverage for six months.

Disabled people, pregnant women and certain other vulnerable people would not be subject to these changes.

Advocacy groups believe many of the changes approved in Kentucky by the Trump administration — like requiring “able-bodied” adults to work or volunteer 20 hours a week — violate federal law.

Activists said they will challenge the changes in court. However, Bevin, like a petulant child, issued an executive order that said that if any of the provisions of the state’s waiver are struck down, the expansion will no longer be affordable.

"Is the governor of Kentucky saying that if he is caught doing something illegal, he will take health care away from hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who have done nothing wrong?" asked Leonardo Cuello, director of health policy for the National Health Law Program.

So basically, the Kentucky governor would simply shutdown Medicaid expansion for nearly half a million people if advocates succeed in striking down any part of his new work requirement changes approved by the HHS within six months of the decision.

“Gov. Bevin has consistently said since submitting the [waiver] application that these are the terms under which Kentucky will maintain expanded Medicaid,” said spokesman Woody Maglinger.

“Accordingly, he has signed an executive order to terminate Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion in the event that a court decision prohibits one or more of the components of the ... waiver from being implemented.”

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Louisville Democrat who supports the Medicaid expansion, disapprove of Bevin’s changes.  “If the Bevin administration has made any errors or drafted this reckless Medicaid waiver in a way that doesn’t meet legal standards, they could redraft and resubmit the request," he said. "Instead, the governor will punish the more than a half million Kentuckians by entirely eliminating their health care coverage. It’s hard to imagine anything more spiteful and less rational than that.”

However, Bevin’s threat doesn’t come as a surprise. Last year, the governor suggested “praying patrols” as a solution to the Louisville's growing violence problem. 

Meanwhile people had a lot to say about Bevin’s threat.







Thumbnail/Banner : Reuters, Mike Blake

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