KY Policy Blog

House Budget Does Not Restore Many Crucial Services for Vulnerable Kentuckians

By Anna Baumann
March 18, 2016

The House budget bill builds on Governor Bevin’s proposed funding for KTRS and KERS and rightly restores his cuts to P-12 and higher education. However, it maintains reductions to other budget areas, including parts of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) that serve Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens.

The House budget appropriates a total of $2.5 billion in 2017 and $2.7 billion in 2018 from the General Fund (GF) to the Cabinet – just over $12 million (or 0.5 percent) more each year than the Governor proposed. $10.6 million read more

It’s Kentucky’s Lack of Coverage and Poor Health that Are Unsustainable, Not Medicaid

By Jason Bailey
March 10, 2016

While the administration claims that Kentucky’s Medicaid program is “unsustainable,” in fact Medicaid is a big benefit to Kentucky as it fills critical coverage gaps, improves health, injects dollars into communities and saves money in the budget previously spent on the uninsured.

Medicaid Is Helping Kentucky Cope with Economic Changes Medicaid costs aren’t up because of any flaw in the program, but because of the impact of more people qualifying for Medicaid in a challenging economy.

The bottom fell out in the Great Recession, with 119,000 Kentuckians losing their jobs. read more

With Medicaid Expansion, Kentucky Healthcare Job Growth Picked Up in 2015

By Jason Bailey
March 9, 2016

After modest growth in health care and social assistance jobs during the first year of Medicaid expansion, growth picked up at a rapid pace in 2015, according to newly-revised Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The billions of additional federal dollars coming in to the state to provide care for the newly insured likely played a role.

As shown in the graph below, jobs in the sector were tapering off before the state began signing people up for Medicaid expansion. Hospital employment declined (in Kentucky and nationally) as that industry reorganized read more

Three Steps to a Better Budget this Session

By Jason Bailey
February 25, 2016

The General Assembly has less than two months to finalize the next two-year state budget. Although the governor’s budget rightly takes a big step toward fully funding our pension liabilities, taken as a whole his plan would send the state backwards by deeply slashing the systems Kentucky relies on for the well-being of its citizens.

We don’t need to make such a painful choice. Kentucky can have a budget this session that more aggressively pays down our debt while better protecting education, human services and other vital investments needed to read more

Unanswered Questions about the Cost and Feasibility of Shutting Down Kynect

By Jason Bailey
February 23, 2016

The governor has notified the federal government that he intends to shut down Kynect and shift Kentucky to the federal health insurance exchange for the next open enrollment period that starts this November. In addition to potential harm to Kentuckians, including higher premiums and fewer people covered, big questions persist about the cost and feasibility of making this transition.

Kynect is widely viewed as a national model for its effectiveness in getting people signed up for the health insurance they are eligible to receive. And it’s shown in the results read more

A County-by-County Look at the Medicaid Expansion

By Dustin Pugel
December 18, 2015

A total of 425,782 Kentuckians were insured through the Medicaid expansion as of October. By county, between 3.7 and 19.1 percent of the population were covered and a total of $2.7 billion from the Medicaid expansion has flowed to providers. Especially benefitting is rural Kentucky. Perry County had the highest percentage of residents insured through the program with nearly 1 in 5 covered. Perry county also ranks 5th in Medicaid expansion money flowing into the county at $62.8 million since the beginning of the expansion.

The expanded Medicaid program in read more

Raising Minimum Wage Would Reduce Spending on Medicaid

By Dustin Pugel
December 4, 2015

Those advocating to scale back Kentucky’s highly-successful Medicaid expansion cite a concern about its cost to the state. One way to help buffer costs would be to raise the minimum wage in Kentucky to $10.10 per hour, which would reduce the state’s spending on Medicaid by an estimated $34 million each year according to research by the Center for American Progress.

An increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 would directly impact an estimated 304,000 Kentucky workers, 16,700 of whom would see their earnings increase to the point that they read more

Shutting Down Kynect Would Take Money From Other Important Priorities

By Kenny Colston
November 23, 2015

According to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, it will cost at least $23 million to dismantle Kynect, the state’s insurance marketplace. Using those funds to end the program would mean taking money from other important priorities.

Saving Kynect FINAL

Click to enlarge infographic read more

8 Reasons Kentucky Shouldn’t DisKynect

By Jason Bailey
November 11, 2015

Kynect, the state’s health insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act, is widely viewed as a national model for its functionality and success in getting people signed up for health coverage.

Here are some of the major reasons Kentucky should keep Kynect rather than shutting it down and transitioning to the federal exchange over the next year:

Kynect works really well. Unlike the federal exchange, the designers of Kynect created a simple and user-friendly system that from the beginning proved effective in getting people signed up for coverage. Kynect read more

Eastern Kentucky the Big Winner in Insurance Gains, but Rise in Poverty Shows Work to Be Done

By Jason Bailey
September 17, 2015

New Census data released yesterday showed Kentucky led the nation in its drop in the share of people who are uninsured.  More detailed Census data released today shows it’s in Appalachian Kentucky where the biggest gains were seen.

The state as a whole saw its uninsured rate fall from 14.3 percent in 2013 to 8.5 percent in 2014, a gain of 5.8 percentage points. Among congressional districts, the biggest drop was in eastern Kentucky’s 5th district, where the rate fell 8.7 percentage points — from 17.1 percent in 2013 to read more