Yarmuth predicts 'major healthcare crisis' if feds rejects gover - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Yarmuth predicts 'major healthcare crisis' if feds rejects governor's proposed Medicaid changes

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The lone Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation is predicting doom and gloom in the state if Gov. Matt Bevin does not change course on Medicaid.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY 3rd District) came to the state Capitol on Tuesday to try and force the issue.

“We now face a major healthcare crisis in the commonwealth,” said Yarmuth at a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda.

Yarmuth says he's been all but assured by federal officials that they will reject the governor's proposed overhaul of Medicaid in Kentucky.

“Our governor has said it's all or nothing. If doesn't get his way, he's cutting off coverage,” he said.

Yarmuth says that means more than 400,000 people added to the Medicaid roles under Obamacare will lose it.

Gov. Bevin says the state can't afford Medicaid expansion and wants to revamp the system by charging small premiums and reducing some benefits.

Those are changes that the federal government has rejected in other states.

Yarmuth delivered a letter to the governor urging him to change course.

“I'm here to ask, to plead with, Gov. Bevin to withdraw his waiver request and continue our highly successful Medicaid expansion,” Yarmuth said.

Yarmuth was joined by several Democratic state lawmakers and by Rev. Matthew Johnson of Louisville.

Rev. Johnson spent a year on Medicaid and literally predicts doom if it goes away.

“People are going to die because they couldn't get their medications, they couldn't get to the hospital because they waited too long to go get some treatment for something that they needed. And that is unjust,” said Rev. Johnson, the pastor of Ridgewood Baptist Church in PRP.

In a statement, the governor's office says he is committed to working with the federal government to reform Medicaid and accused Yarmuth of playing politics.

Yarmuth says he does want voters to consider this issue at the polls next month.

“But that's not why we're here. We're here because our citizens will pay the price.”

When asked if he really believes the governor will change course based on his letter, Yarmuth smiled and said, “Anything is possible.”

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