KY Policy Blog

Increase in Federal Minimum Wage Would Provide Much-Needed Boost to Kentucky Families

By Jason Bailey
August 14, 2012

An increase in the federal minimum wage to $9.80 an hour would raise wages in Kentucky by $606 million over the next three years and benefit one out of every four of the state’s workers, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Contrary to stereotypes, increasing the minimum wage would primarily benefit adults whose families depend on these jobs to make ends meet.

The report examines the impact of legislation introduced in both houses of Congress to incrementally raise the federal minimum wage from its current read more

Report Estimates Medicaid Expansion Could Actually Save Kentucky Money

By Jason Bailey
July 5, 2012

We previously reported (here and here) that the state will likely incur little cost associated with the expansion of Medicaid beginning in 2014 to around 300,000 Kentuckians. But in fact the expansion could actually save the state between $140 million and $828 million over the first six years of the law, according to a report by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report estimates that the expansion of Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level will cost Kentucky $547 read more

Medicaid Expansion is a Very Good Deal for Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
June 28, 2012

The 2014 expansion of Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act will benefit Kentuckians substantially, while the federal government will largely pick up the bill. According to one analysis, Kentucky will see a 37.3 percent increase in Medicaid enrollment at only a 3.5 percent increase in state Medicaid costs.

A major way in which the Affordable Care Act will increase health insurance coverage is by expanding Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line ($26,344 for a family of three in 2012). That could mean read more

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Kentucky to Move Forward on Addressing Health Challenges

By Jason Bailey
June 28, 2012

The Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is good news for Kentucky, a state with tremendous health challenges and a growing number of families that struggle to afford health care coverage.

More than one in seven Kentuckians lack health insurance, but when the ACA is fully implemented in 2014 around half of the uninsured will obtain insurance through the expansion of Medicaid to the working poor. Many thousands more individuals and employees of small businesses will gain coverage through access to a health insurance exchange read more

The Problem of Low Wages in Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
June 8, 2012

The economy is growing, but job growth is happening way too slowly. To make matters worse, low wages keep many of those Kentucky workers with jobs from meeting their families’ basic needs.

In Kentucky, the big job losses since the beginning of the recession have been in middle-skill industries like manufacturing and construction that have historically meant middle-class wages for workers without a college education. Kentucky has lost a net 35,400 manufacturing jobs since December 2007 and 18,800 construction jobs.1

Decent jobs are going away, while wages at the low-paying read more

Decline of TANF Caseloads Not the Result of Decreasing Poverty

By Ashley Spalding
April 6, 2012

Caseloads for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a safety net program designed to help families facing economic hardship meet basic needs, have declined sharply since 1995. Some policymakers have cited this decline as proof of the success of the 1996 welfare reform law.

However, a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) finds that these decreases in TANF enrollments nationwide were actually accompanied by overall increases in poverty.1 According to the report, TANF enrollments decreased 58 percent between 1995 and 2010, but the number of read more

Legislation Requiring Government-Issued ID Could Deny Public Benefits to Eligible Recipients

By Ashley Spalding
March 20, 2012

Senate Bill 118, which passed the Senate yesterday, would require applicants for all public benefits to provide proof of lawful presence in the United States. While the bill’s proponents say it is needed to bar illegal immigrants from state and federal public benefit programs, the legislation instead threatens benefits for citizens most in need of assistance, adds costs to the state and promotes inaccurate stereotypes about immigrants.

A substantial number of U.S. citizens do not have government-issued identification that proves citizenship—particularly those who are low-income, minority and elderly. One study read more

A Decade of Erosion in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance in Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
February 28, 2012

According to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), 200,000 fewer non-elderly Kentuckians had health insurance through an employer in 2010 than in 2000. The report finds that employer-sponsored insurance declined 9.3 percentage points over that period. Only 58.7 percent of Kentuckians under age 65 had this type of coverage in 2010.

The EPI report describes how, at the national level, those with lower levels of education and lower wages are less likely to have health insurance through an employer—or be insured at all.1 According to the report, read more