Gov. Beshear expands Kentucky's Medicaid program - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gov. Beshear expands Kentucky's Medicaid program

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear on Thursday announced the expansion of Kentucky's Medicaid program to include 308,000 more people under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The act, often known as Obamacare, allows states to expand coverage to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

In a news release, the governor called it "the single-most important decision in our lifetime for improving the health of Kentuckians."  He said that expansion, along with the creation of the Health Benefit Exchange, will make sure every Kentuckian has access to affordable health insurance.

The governor also said the move would create nearly 17,000 new jobs, with a $15.6 billion impact on the state beginning next year.

The federal government would fund the expansion for three years with the state's share gradually increasing to 10 percent by 2020.

But not everyone approves of the move:  "This is a huge public policy change," says State Senator Julie Denton, a Louisville Republican, "made by one individual in the state who won't even be here when the bill comes in for this.

"What we're doing is we're doubling down on failure.  We're just going to get worse," says tea party activist David Adams.

For critics who complain that the decision means approval of "Obamacare," Beshear had a simple message:  "Get over it."

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