KY Policy Blog

Address Declining Workforce through Job Creation and Work Supports

By Jason Bailey
July 11, 2016

The administration’s proposal to change Medicaid is framed around increasing workforce participation — making it harder for people to get public benefits, it is assumed, will somehow make them more likely to seek work. But as a recent report by the Council of Economic Advisors shows, the gradual decline in the workforce — especially among working age men — can be linked primarily to a loss of decent jobs accessible to less-educated workers as well as the absence of a variety of supports that remove barriers to employment.

Over the read more

Vision Benefits Critical to Health of Kentuckians

By Dustin Pugel
July 5, 2016

An element in the governor’s proposed changes to Medicaid would do away with vision benefits for adults. But the health consequences of eliminating the benefit can be significant. The Centers for Disease Control notes early detection, diagnosis and treatment can prevent significant loss of vision, and “people with vision loss are more likely to report depression, diabetes, hearing impairment, stroke, falls, cognitive decline and premature death.”

In Kentucky there are an estimated 192,060 people who are either blind or have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses, according to 5 read more

Things to Keep in Mind as Public Hearings on Medicaid Proposal Begin Today

By Ashley Spalding
June 28, 2016

The next step in the governor’s 1115 Medicaid waiver proposal is for the state to consider public comments, before submitting the final proposal. With the first of the three public hearings being held today, here are some links to information about the state’s Medicaid program and what the waiver plan would mean for Kentucky:

Medicaid Plays Important Role in the Health of Kentuckians and Benefit Package is Comparable to Other States

Interactive Map Shows Benefits of the Medicaid Expansion Have Been Felt Across the State

Many Who Gained Insurance through read more

Approach to Medicaid Should Reflect Realities Facing Low-Income Kentuckians

By Ashley Spalding
June 24, 2016

Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver proposal frames the issue of health coverage for low-income Kentuckians largely as a problem of Medicaid participants’ lack of understanding about private insurance and failure to engage in work to obtain employer-based coverage. This approach includes several important misconceptions about who is receiving Medicaid, what’s happened to private insurance and how to best promote economic mobility in Kentucky.

Most Non-Disabled Adults With Medicaid Are Already Working

A key component of the 1115 waiver proposal is the addition of work requirements for non-disabled adults without children — making read more

Eliminating Medicaid Dental Coverage Would Set Kentucky Back

By Dustin Pugel
June 23, 2016

The proposed changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion include the elimination of dental coverage from the package of benefits for adults. Reducing access to dental care would likely lead to other, more serious health problems and cost the state more in overall Medicaid spending through greater use of emergency room services.

Dental care makes up a small portion of the overall budget, but is a very efficient preventative medical service that is critical in Kentucky given our poor oral health.

What does Medicaid currently cover?

Medicaid has long covered extensive dental read more

Waiver Proposal Says Cost Savings Come from Covering Fewer People

By Jason Bailey
June 23, 2016

The Medicaid waiver proposal the administration has drafted claims the changes will save $2.2 billion over the first 5 years of the program. But the data shows those savings would occur because fewer Kentuckians are covered — the exact problem of lack of coverage Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion has been so successful at addressing.

The data provided shows 17,833 fewer people will be covered by Medicaid in the first year of the demonstration compared to not having the waiver, a number that would grow to 85,917 in year 5 (data from read more

What’s In the Governor’s Proposed Medicaid Changes

By Jason Bailey
June 22, 2016

Governor Bevin rolled out proposed changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program that would put up harsh new barriers to coverage and care for Kentuckians including premiums and work requirements. The plan also reduces benefits and creates complex new administrative systems to track and collect payments and activities.

The proposal, called a Section 1115 waiver to the Medicaid program, is subject to public comments in Kentucky before going to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for their consideration and response. Aspects of the proposal put Kentucky’s nation-leading health gains at read more

What Are Medicaid Waivers?

By Dustin Pugel
May 20, 2016

Kentucky has had great success in reducing the number of people who are uninsured since it expanded Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Since that time, Governor Bevin has announced he will seek changes to the program through a federal waiver process.  But the word waiver has more than one meaning when it comes to Medicaid, and can mean both positive changes to the program as well as changes that create new barriers to the coverage and care Kentuckians need.

The federal government offers two ways a state can read more

Governor Vetoes Need-Based Scholarships for Thousands of Students

By Jason Bailey
April 28, 2016

Governor Bevin vetoed $40.3 million in funding for need-based college scholarships contained in House Bill 10, meaning denied aid for nearly 22,000 low-income students that had been awarded by the General Assembly. This is at the same time the budget cuts funding for higher education by 4.5 percent, leading to tuition hikes at the public universities and community colleges.

The governor’s vetoes also delay the start of the Work Ready Scholarship, a program designed to help some traditional-age students pursue associate’s degrees, by one year from 2017 to 2018. That read more

Indiana Medicaid Waiver Model Should Not Be Replicated in Kentucky Without Evaluation

By Ashley Spalding
April 15, 2016

With Kentucky considering pursuing a waiver that makes changes to its Medicaid program — and looking at Indiana’s waiver design in particular — it is important to keep in mind how much we still don’t know about the model’s implementation and effectiveness.

As shown in a new paper by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), there are serious questions about the data coming out of Indiana. As CBPP argues, it’s unwise to replicate the ideas Indiana has piloted before they are thoroughly evaluated.

Indiana is one of six read more