Bevin says transition in leadership will not slow down planned changes in Medicaid
Bevin promised the programs will move forward, including the first-in-the-nation plan to impose a work requirement on some able-bodied Medicaid recipients.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said the transition in leadership at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will not slow his plan to dramatically change Medicaid in Kentucky.
Last week, Vickie Yates Brown Glisson resigned as cabinet secretary to run for the 3rd District congressional seat currently held by Democrat John Yarmuth.
Bevin promised the programs launched by Glisson will move forward, including the first-in-the-nation plan to impose a work requirement on some able-bodied Medicaid recipients.
"The cabinet, as it stands, is deep. The bench strength is solid," said Bevin at a news conference surrounded by cabinet staff.
Glisson was the point person in getting federal approval for the so-called 1115 waiver, but Bevin said others are in position to implement it.
"It will continue to move forward just as it was intended to. It involves thousands of people in this cabinet actually doing the work," said Bevin.
Bevin said the change could result in some 95,000 Kentuckians getting off Medicaid over the next five years.
"No. 1, because they don't need it anymore, which is great. Or, No. 2, because they don't want to do anything in exchange for something of value," Bevin said.
But a coalition of progressive religious leaders has launched what they call a "poor people's campaign" to oppose conservative policies, including the governor's changes to Medicaid.
"I don't see this 1115 Medicaid waiver as something good for our state," said Rev. Donald Gillett II, executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches. "I see it as something that's going to take away this right for all people, and give it back to just the privileged few."
Three groups have joined to file a lawsuit to stop Bevin's Medicaid plan, but Bevin is dismissing the legal challenge.
"This is what outside liberal groups do," said Bevin. "They think they're going to come in and make sport at the expense of Kentucky. Good luck to them. They'll lose."
Bevin also said planned reforms of the foster care system and the effort to fight the opioid epidemic will also continue uninterrupted.
The governor has named Scott Brinkman, the Secretary of his Executive Cabinet, as the interim leader of Health and Family Services.
Bevin said he has "no immediate plan" to appoint a permanent replacement for Glisson.
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