Bevin administration hears public comment on proposed Medicaid changes
Administration wants to tighten rules in order to reduce Medicaid rolls and save money
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Gov. Matt Bevin wants to change his plan to roll back Medicaid expansion in Kentucky.
The administration wants to further tighten the rules in its effort to save money by reducing the number of people on Medicaid. Obamacare added a half-million people to the Medicaid program in Kentucky, but Bevin said the state cannot afford it.
He has asked the federal government for a waiver, or permission, to overhaul the program, including adding work requirements and small premiums.
The federal Center for Medicaid Services has not yet given Kentucky the green light, but now the administration is proposing even more changes.
“There's a lot of talk of kicking people off and how many people are being kicked off," Bevin's Deputy Chief of Staff Adam Meier told the Interim Health and Welfare Committee at the Capitol. "We're not changing the eligibility requirements as far as income threshold. We're not kicking anybody off."
Under the original proposal, able-bodied Medicaid recipients had three months to begin fulfilling a requirement to work, volunteer or take classes for at least 20 hours a week. Under the proposed change, recipients would have to begin fulfilling the work requirement right away.
The proposed changes would also require Medicaid recipients to report any changes in their employment or income status within ten days or be locked out of the program for six months.
The administration said the rules are designed to more efficiently transition able-bodied Medicaid recipients into the workforce and private insurance. However, during a public hearing Monday, many were not buying it.
“It's just hard to find jobs in a weak economy,” said Jill Harmer from Louisville, who said she was with the organization, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care.
“This waiver is going to take health care coverage away from people,” said Mark McKinley of Louisville.
“Access to affordable, quality care health care is vital for all of us, but especially for people living with MS,” added Debbie McAfee of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
But the administration did find some support.
“We also see this waiver as a something that brings new tools to help people who are not in the workforce but who could be in the workforce,” said Amy Lutrell, CEO of Goodwill Industries.
The administration said the changes would mean 9,000 people would either lose coverage or roll off Medicaid in Kentucky. That is in addition to the 87,000 who would be off the program under the original waiver.
Meier told WDRB News the total savings to both the state and federal governments would be $2.4 billion.
The public comment period continues through Aug. 2. For more information on the proposed Medicaid modifications and how to comment, click here.
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