KY Policy Blog

New Data: One in Six Households in Kentucky Struggle Against Hunger

By Jason Bailey
September 4, 2013

1 in 6 households-250x15015.6 percent of Kentucky households report serious problems affording adequate nutritious food, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture today covering the last three years. Of the approximately 285,000 Kentucky households experiencing food insecurity, some 113,000 experienced very low food security—meaning that one or more household members have had to reduce their food intake.

The 15.6 percent of Kentucky households with food insecurity is in stark contrast to 10 years ago, when only 10.8 percent reported food insecurity, according to the report. Overall, 17.6 million American read more

Kentucky’s Joblessness a Big Reason to Protect SNAP

By Jason Bailey
August 12, 2013

House Republican leaders are calling for even deeper cuts to the food stamps program, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), after the cuts they considered last month didn’t go far enough for some House members.

The new proposal would immediately kick up to 88,000 Kentuckians off of SNAP, and would curtail states’ ability to provide more than three months of benefits every three years to childless adults who can’t find a job during bad economic times or in a region of high unemployment. The cuts are on top of read more

Another Bad Year for Kentucky Workers’ Wages

By Jason Bailey
August 8, 2013

Real wages for Kentucky workers fell again last year, continuing a slide that began in 2001. Congress’ unwillingness to spur a stronger economic recovery and act on policies like raising the minimum wage play a big role in depressing wages.

Low wage Kentucky workers continue to see the real value of their wages erode. Inflation-adjusted wages for workers at the 10th percentile fell 1.5 percent in 2012—to $7.99 an hour—and have declined 6.5 percent since 2001. Likewise, workers at the 20th and 30th percentile have seen the purchasing power of read more

875,000 Kentuckians Will See Cuts to Food Assistance This Fall

By Ashley Spalding
August 2, 2013

New Report: “SNAP Benefits Will Be Cut for All Participants In November 2013”

875,000 Kentuckians Will See Cuts to Food Assistance This Fall

875,000 people in Kentucky will see a cut in their food assistance benefits this fall, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is set to expire, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discussed in a report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

All of the more than 47 read more

Underfunding Also Led to Shortfall in Local Government Pensions

By Jason Bailey
June 14, 2013

The pension system for Kentucky local government employees has a shortfall even though local governments have been required to make their annual payments each year. Some are using this fact to suggest that defined benefit pensions themselves must be unsustainable and shift the focus away from inadequate government contributions. But this claim misses several important points.

First, the funding condition of the local government pension system is far better than the state employees’ system, for which the legislature hasn’t made full payments for the last 11 years. The main County read more

Proposed Cuts to Medicare and Social Security Would Drive More Seniors into Financial Hardship

By Anna Baumann
June 5, 2013

Nearly half of elderly Kentuckians are economically insecure—meaning they either live in or are at risk of falling into poverty—according to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Yet instead of safeguarding programs that help seniors meet their basic needs, proposals to cut Medicare and Social Security threaten to push even more seniors into economic vulnerability.

To measure elder vulnerability, EPI uses 200 percent of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM improves on the flawed Federal Poverty Line by accounting for out-of-pocket health care read more

Implementing Health Reform Will Promote Entrepreneurship in Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
May 30, 2013

Another reason that Medicaid expansion and the rest of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is good for Kentucky’s economy is that it will help support the entrepreneurs and small businesses that are critical to innovation and growth.

The Medicaid expansion is expected to make coverage available to up to 308,000 Kentuckians, while the ACA’s health insurance exchange could cover another 332,000. That access to health insurance will help address the problem known as “job lock.” That’s when people are reluctant to change jobs because they will lose their health coverage read more

Medicaid Expansion Can Help Address Kentucky’s Substance Abuse Problem

By Ashley Spalding
May 22, 2013

There are many reasons to commend Governor Beshear’s recent announcement that Kentucky will be expanding Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among the numerous important benefits of the ACA is that it will help with Kentucky’s substance abuse problem—and the Medicaid expansion will further broaden the reach of that benefit.

It’s no secret that Kentucky has a huge substance abuse problem. In 2009-2010, approximately one in 13 Kentuckians age 12 and over—and one in five of those 18 to 25—were dependent upon or abused illicit drugs or alcohol in read more

How the Medicaid Expansion Can Save Money in the State Budget

By Jason Bailey
May 10, 2013

Governor Beshear’s announcement that he’ll expand Medicaid in Kentucky included release of a report showing that expansion will result in a net savings of $802 million to the state budget over the next eight years. The report also demonstrates that not expanding Medicaid would cost the state $39 million over that same period.

But how can expanding health insurance to 308,000 Kentuckians save money in the budget, and how can not doing so increase costs? Here’s how.

Medicaid expansion will cover some indigent health costs currently paid for through the read more

Medicaid Expansion Will Help Kentuckians Get the Care They Need and Increase Financial Security

By Ashley Spalding
May 9, 2013

The Medicaid expansion that the governor announced today means more Kentuckians will get the treatments they need to stay healthy while avoiding the risk of financial catastrophe should they get sick.

Given our state’s health status, the help is needed. According to the United Health Foundation, Kentucky ranks 7th from the bottom among the states in overall health. Kentucky has the highest rates of cancer deaths and preventable hospitalizations in the U.S.—and also ranks among the ten worst states in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular deaths.

Many of the state’s health read more