Congressman Yarmuth calls Gov. Bevin's Medicaid proposal a 'devi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Congressman Yarmuth calls Gov. Bevin's Medicaid proposal a 'devious' attempt to end expansion

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB News) -- Congressman John Yarmuth is accusing Gov. Matt Bevin of plotting to end Medicaid expansion in Kentucky.

Yarmuth is the only Democrat in Kentucky's congressional delegation, and a big supporter of the Affordable Care Act.

He calls the governor's proposed Medicaid reforms "devious."

"He's saying he's trying to improve Medicaid. He's not.  It's a very devious approach," Yarmuth told business leaders at the first-ever Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Congressional Forum in Louisville.

He says Gov. Matt Bevin's plan to reform Medicaid will in fact cause more than 400,000 Kentuckians to lose the coverage they gained under Obamacare.

"He has made a proposal that he knows will be rejected by the federal government. Because they've told him it will be," said Yarmuth.

Gov. Bevin says the state can't afford the growing Medicaid bill.

He has submitted a proposed waiver to the federal government to allow Kentucky to make changes, including charging minimal premiums, and requiring able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work in exchange for coverage.

Bevin says that would lead some to transition off Medicaid and into private insurance.

But Yarmuth is not buying it.

"I think his intent is to force the federal government to reject his proposed waiver, and then give him an excuse to rescind the expansion of Medicaid in Kentucky," Yarmuth told reporters following the speech.

But during that same forum, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell also warned of the looming cost of Medicaid for the states.

"We'll see how they can figure out how to pay for that. So, it's a real crisis coming down the track," he said.

State Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) called Yarmuth's claim "ridiculous."

"The governor has taken a responsible approach, and it's a shame that people like Congressman Yarmuth seem to think that being an alarmist about this is going to solve the problem," McDaniel told WDRB News.

But Yarmuth claims the governor wants to blow up the system, not reform it.

"That's what he promised to do during the campaign, and that's what he's trying to do now. But he wants to blame it on Obama."

Bevin's Press Secretary, Amanda Stamper, issued a statement to WDRB in response to Yarmuth:

Governor Bevin's Kentucky HEALTH waiver is an innovative & transformative plan that will set Kentucky on a path to improve the health of our citizens and encourage self-sufficiency. The current path we're on is unsustainable and will squeeze out the limited resources that we have for other priorities including education, public pension obligations and transportation.

For anyone to suggest otherwise is ignoring the facts. The months of work that went into developing Kentucky HEALTH represents the Bevin administration's attempt to retain Medicaid expansion in Kentucky.  The Federal government has the full legal authority to approve everything in the Kentucky HEALTH waiver--and in fact, has approved several elements of the waiver already.

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