KY Policy Blog

Ending Cost Sharing Reduction Payments is a Lose-Lose for Kentucky

By Dustin Pugel
August 15, 2017

Since 2014, the federal financial assistance for out-of-pocket health care costs known as Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs) has been under threat – first from a lawsuit filed by the House of Representatives, and now by threats from President Donald Trump to stop paying for it. In either case, ending those payments would hurt middle-class families who purchase insurance through the exchanges, destabilize the insurance market and raise costs for the federal government.

What are CSRs and how do they work?

CSRs help low-income people use the insurance they purchase on read more

Too Many Community College Students Are Hungry or Homeless

By Celena Snoddy
August 10, 2017

While community college is typically thought of as an affordable option for earning a degree, a recent report shows this is often not the case. Too many community college students do not have consistent access to food or stable housing, which makes it difficult for them to be academically successful. These issues likely contribute to Kentucky’s low community college graduation rates as well as achievement gaps for low-income and underrepresented minority students.

The report describes findings from a survey of basic needs insecurity (i.e. food and housing) among community college read more

Kentuckians Are Concerned About Proposed Changes to Medicaid

By Dustin Pugel
August 9, 2017

Kentucky officials recently asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to change certain parts of their original request to alter the commonwealth’s Medicaid program. These changes would move Kentucky’s health and economy further in the wrong direction by making the work requirement more difficult to comply with and instituting a six-month lock out for enrollees who fail to report relevant changes in income or employment hours within ten days.

State officials decided to open a comment period for public input on these changes. The result was that 1,273 read more

How Cuts to Federal Non-Defense Discretionary Funding Would Impact Kentucky

By Ashley Spalding
August 8, 2017

When Congress returns from its August break, the House is expected to vote on their plan for 2018 appropriations that includes cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding, as well as deep cuts to entitlement programs. The proposed cuts to NDD programs would harm our state’s ability to improve education, support children and families, make our communities safer and healthier and develop the workforce and economy.

As noted previously, the proposed House appropriations for NDD programs would be 17 percent below what was appropriated in 2010 after adjusting for inflation and read more

Four Added Concerns About Kentucky’s Fiscal Outlook

By Pam Thomas
August 4, 2017

The fact Kentucky has a severely underfunded pension system and that Gov. Matt Bevin plans to call a special session on the issue has been widely publicized.  So has the round after round of state budget cuts in recent years. On top of those challenges are added fiscal problems, made even clearer recently, that present a daunting picture for the commonwealth in 2018 and beyond.

Last week, the state budget director appeared before the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue to provide an overview of the fiscal year that read more

Continuing General Fund Erosion Is More Evidence of the Need to Clean Up Tax Code

By Anna Baumann
August 2, 2017

As a share of the economy, Kentucky’s General Fund is worse off today than before the last positive effort to clean up the tax code under the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) took effect – 5.9 percent in 2017 compared to 6.4 percent in 1990 (see graph below). Due to the growing number and size of tax breaks in Kentucky’s tax code, General Fund revenue eroded relative to the economy for two decades after KERA and has largely stagnated since 2010. In fact, weak revenue growth in 2017 put the read more

Trump Tax Plan Would Be a Windfall for Only the Wealthiest Kentuckians

By Anna Baumann
July 21, 2017

The wealthiest Kentuckians would be winners from the $4.8 trillion in federal tax cuts President Donald Trump has proposed, as shown by a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). But as a poor state the tax cuts — coupled as they are with huge federal budget cuts to programs and investments that support our communities — would be an especially raw deal for Kentucky as a whole.

With a smaller share of the nation’s wealthiest people than other states, Kentucky would see relatively little of read more

What’s at Stake in U.S. House Budget by Kentucky Congressional District

By Ashley Spalding
July 20, 2017

A number of key federal investments that help Kentucky families meet basic needs and support our economy are at risk for cuts in the budget resolution that has begun to move in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House budget resolution that passed out of committee last night sets out a harsh framework over the next 10 years that would lead to deeply damaging cuts to many federal investments that provide key assistance to Kentucky families. The budget proposes cutting federal entitlement programs by $4.4 trillion over 10 years — read more

Critical Investments in Kentuckians at Risk in U.S. House Budget

By Ashley Spalding
July 20, 2017

The House budget resolution that passed out of committee last night sets out a harsh framework over the next 10 years that would lead to deeply damaging cuts to many federal investments that help Kentucky families meet basic needs and support our economy. The budget proposes cutting federal entitlement programs by $4.4 trillion over 10 years — including Medicaid and Medicare and income assistance programs such as SNAP food assistance. Also in the resolution are big cuts to Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) programs that help to improve Kentucky’s economy and quality read more

Revised Senate Health Repeal Has Same Harmful Impacts

By Jason Bailey
July 13, 2017

Senate leaders released a “new” version of their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act that fixes none of the original Senate bill’s core problems and makes some of them even worse.

Through its cuts in funding, the Senate bill would effectively end Kentucky’s highly-successful Medicaid expansion, resulting in lost coverage for 473,000 Kentuckians. The bill goes beyond that to permanently harm the traditional Medicaid program by instituting caps that will squeeze funding over time. Those caps will jeopardize coverage for another nearly 1 million Kentuckians, including people with disabilities, read more