KY Policy Blog

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

Expanding Medicaid in Kentucky Could Improve the Health of Women and Babies

By Ashley Spalding
April 29, 2013

In Kentucky, nearly 41 percent of low-income women aged 19 to 44 are uninsured. However, if the state expands Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these women could gain coverage and improve their health and the health of their babies.

Currently Medicaid coverage for adults in Kentucky is very limited and leads to gaps in coverage for women.1 Many low-income women are eligible only while they are pregnant and for 60 days after they give birth.2

If Kentucky decides to expand Medicaid through the ACA in 2014, low-income women read more

Interactive Map: Expanding Medicaid Would Increase Health Coverage In Every Kentucky County

By Ashley Spalding
April 19, 2013

The Governor will be deciding soon whether or not to expand Medicaid eligibility in Kentucky through the Affordable Care Act. If the state does move forward with the expansion, nearly 280,000 uninsured Kentucky adults could receive health coverage. These uninsured Kentuckians who stand to benefit live across the state; in many counties, approximately half of the uninsured would qualify for coverage.

We have previously noted that among the uninsured in Kentucky who would qualify for coverage are workers—including thousands of store clerks, cooks, waiters and waitresses, construction workers, child care read more

Higher Minimum Wage Is Good for Kentucky Workers and the State’s Economy

By Anna Baumann
April 3, 2013

Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lift the wages of over one in four Kentucky workers and add $546 million over three years to the Kentucky economy, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

The report looks at how the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 – which proposes to raise the minimum wage incrementally to $10.10 by 2015, index it to inflation and raise the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage – would affect workers and read more

Expanding Medicaid is a Good Move for Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
March 29, 2013

Expanding Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a good move for Kentucky. More than half of the state’s uninsured stand to benefit. It would have a positive impact on the state’s economy while costing the state very little. And the majority of Kentuckians are in favor of the Medicaid expansion.

It’s Good for Workers

Despite being employed, a large share of low-wage workers cannot afford health insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. They struggle just to make ends meet and cover their basic expenses. Being uninsured means read more

Pension Recommendations Emphasize Employee Sacrifice While Addressing Only Portion of Liability

By Jason Bailey
November 1, 2012

The state’s task force on public pensions heard consultants’ recommendations this week that include several ways to raise employee costs and cut benefits, some of which may not be legal. Yet even if all of the recommendations were to become law they would only reduce a small portion of Kentucky’s unfunded pension liability.

This limited impact and emphasis on employee sacrifice are the results of an approach that includes just one revenue measure (taxing retirement benefits) rather than the kind of broad, long-term revenue plan that is needed to truly read more