KY Policy Blog

CBO Shows 23 Million Would Lose Coverage under Health Care Repeal Bill

By Dustin Pugel
May 24, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) review of the health care repeal bill passed by the House weeks ago estimates that 23 million Americans would lose coverage, many low-income and older individuals’ health care costs would rise, and people with poor health would be left with unusable and unaffordable insurance options. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would unravel the healthcare gains Kentucky has experienced in the last three years and go beyond that by inflicting ongoing damage to the original Medicaid program.

Kentucky’s uninsured would dramatically rise.

The main portion read more

Food Assistance Cuts in Trump Budget Would Have a Devastating Impact on Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
May 24, 2017

The deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in President Trump’s budget proposal would be devastating to Kentucky — particularly in rural parts of the state. SNAP provides critical assistance to prevent low-income Kentuckians from going hungry, lifts many out of poverty and leads to better outcomes for children in struggling households. The proposed cuts to SNAP are made by shifting 25 percent of the cost to states, putting pressure on them to reduce benefits and make cuts to the program that include imposing a read more

What Trump Budget Proposal Would Mean for Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
May 23, 2017

President Trump’s full budget proposal released today includes harsh, devastating cuts to critical poverty-reducing programs that provide health, nutrition and financial assistance to many Kentuckians. The budget also includes drastic cuts to federal grants to states that improve our economy and quality of life and provide needed assistance to Kentucky’s most vulnerable. The rural areas of our state, which continue to experience the greatest economic challenges, would be hit particularly hard.

Mandatory Federal Programs

President Trump’s budget proposal includes harmful cuts to so-called mandatory programs (meaning spending is determined by read more

Angel Investor Tax Credit Program Is An Overly-Generous Subsidy for Wealthy Investors

By Pam Thomas
May 23, 2017

Kentucky’s angel investor tax credit program is touted as a way to encourage investment in start-up companies. But because it is overly generous to investors, fails to target start-ups exclusively and lacks adequate evaluation mechanisms, there are reasons to question its cost-effectiveness.

Angel investor tax credit programs are offered in more than 20 states. They are promoted as a way to encourage investors to support start-up and early stage ventures for which it is sometimes difficult to access the capital needed to begin or expand operations — especially in risky read more

Health Care Repeal Bill Would Squeeze In-Home Health Services for Elderly & Disabled Kentuckians

By Dustin Pugel
May 19, 2017

Important services that enable Kentuckians to receive needed care at home and in the community, rather than an institutional setting like a nursing home, will be cut back if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law.

There are currently 39,289 Kentuckians who receive Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) through Medicaid. These individuals include participants in the Supports for Community Living and Michelle P. Waiver programs, for which there is already unmet need. Because the AHCA makes permanent cuts to the traditional Medicaid program over time, the state likely read more

Report on County Jails Shows Why We Need Additional Criminal Justice Reforms

By Ashley Spalding
May 19, 2017

A recently released report from the state Legislative Research Commission (LRC) raises the alarm around the growing number of state inmates housed in county jails. This trend underscores the need for serious criminal justice reforms in Kentucky beyond the first step reentry measures passed in the 2017 General Assembly.

Kentucky ranked second highest in the nation for the imprisonment of state and federal inmates in local facilities as of 2014, the report shows. Close to half of the state’s inmates are now housed in county jails — 11,000 inmates as read more

Any Way You Slice It, A Shift To Consumption Taxes Will Hurt Kentucky

By Anna Baumann
May 19, 2017

There are two main reasons why shifting from income taxes to sales taxes would be bad for Kentucky:

Doing so would make our tax system more regressive than it already is (asking lower- and middle-income families to pay an even larger share of their income in taxes to pay for tax cuts for higher-income families;) and The shift would further reduce revenue growth that is needed to meet our obligations and invest in our schools, infrastructure and other building blocks of thriving communities.

These consequences of upside-down tax shifting are read more

Critical Poverty-Reducing Programs at Risk in Upcoming Trump Budget

By Ashley Spalding
May 17, 2017

News reports suggest President Trump’s full budget proposal, slated for release next week, will include deep cuts to federal safety net programs that provide crucial supports for low-income Kentuckians and help boost our economy in hard times. These cuts to so-called mandatory programs (meaning spending is determined by how many people are eligible) are on top of expected cuts to important non-defense discretionary programs we wrote about previously and were targeted for cuts in President Trump’s initial “skinny budget” proposal in March.

Safety net programs potentially at risk provide what read more

Kentucky Has Nation’s Most Rural Medicaid Expansion Enrollees, and AHCA Would Take That Away

By Dustin Pugel
May 16, 2017

For largely rural states like Kentucky, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a major boon for health coverage. There are 223,700 rural Medicaid expansion enrollees in Kentucky, more than any other state according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Fully half of Kentucky’s expansion population lives in a rural area, compared to 15 percent of expansion enrollees across the country. But the American Health Care Act (AHCA) puts those rural gains, and much more, in jeopardy.

The coverage gains Kentucky’s rural communities have experienced read more

Study of Indiana’s Medicaid Program a Warning Against Kentucky’s Plans to Charge Premiums

By Dustin Pugel
May 16, 2017

A recent evaluation of Indiana’s Medicaid waiver program should stand as a warning for Kentucky policymakers attempting to similarly charge premiums in our own Medicaid program. While proponents of Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver proposal say charging premiums wouldn’t be a barrier to coverage and care for low-income Kentuckians, the findings of the study of Indiana’s waiver suggest otherwise.

One aspect of Indiana’s Medicaid waiver program, “Healthy Indiana Program 2.0,” (HIP 2.0), is a requirement that enrollees make monthly contributions to a type of Health Savings Account called a POWER Account. The read more