KY Policy Blog

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

Bill to Collect Internet Sales Tax Would Help Kentucky’s Budget and Level Playing Field for Local Businesses

By Jason Bailey
May 1, 2013

Federal legislation requiring internet retailers to collect sales taxes owed to states would aid Kentucky’s depleted budget and end the unfair advantage out-of-state sellers have over Main Street Kentucky businesses.

The Marketplace Fairness Act passed the first hurdle in the Senate last week by a vote of 63 to 30, although Kentucky senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul voted against the measure. It’s expected to come to a full vote in the Senate next week, and then will be considered in the House.

A 1992 Supreme Court ruling has kept read more

Federal Limit on Tax Expenditures Would Generate Needed Revenue and Make Taxes Fairer

By Anna Baumann
April 30, 2013

President Obama’s proposal to limit tax savings on itemized deductions and exclusions for high-income people would raise more than half a trillion dollars over the next decade while increasing taxes for only 1.9 percent of Kentuckians, according to a new report released today by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ).

The tax expenditures President Obama proposes to limit give the biggest tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals. For example, 77 percent of the benefit of the mortgage interest deduction goes to homeowners with incomes above $100,000.

That’s because for each dollar 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

What Are Taxes For?

By Anna Baumann
April 15, 2013

Tax Day is an important time for Kentuckians to consider the role of government in our state and nation. Taxes are a critical tool for doing things together that we cannot do alone. They support investment in education, health care, infrastructure, social services and other public structures essential for the common good in Kentucky.

These days, taxes are the subject of great controversy. The April income tax due date is a time when those seeking to shrink or eliminate many of the functions of government argue for more cuts. But read more

Without More Revenue, Paying Pension Liabilities Will Continue to Be Challenge

By Jason Bailey
April 11, 2013

After the General Assembly passed final pension legislation, some proponents of Senate Bill 2 hailed it as “historic.” But the costs Kentucky faces to pay down its unfunded pension liability remain substantial—and the new revenues generated by the General Assembly to make those payments are meager.

After Senate Bill 2 is implemented, the employers that participate in the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) will need to come up with an estimated $590 million in pension payments in 2015 and $621 million in 2016, an increase of $253 million and $284 read more

Child Care Cuts Part of Broader Underinvestment in Early Learning

By Anna Baumann
April 8, 2013

Recent cuts to Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and Kinship Care are part of a broader set of cuts to child care and early childhood education programs, despite solid evidence that we actually need more investment in these areas.

In January, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced a moratorium beginning this month on new enrollments in CCAP, a program that subsidizes quality child care for income eligible families where parents are working, participating in an educational or training program, or receiving aid through the Temporary Assistance to read more

State’s Mental Health System Has Experienced Severe Funding Shortfalls

By Jason Bailey
April 5, 2013

Discussion of the news that Seven Counties Services, a community mental health center in Louisville, plans to file for bankruptcy should include a look at the chronic lack of state funding for behavioral health over the last couple decades. The state’s community mental health centers have been hit by a combination of state General Fund budget cuts, frozen Medicaid reimbursements and the underfunding of pension liabilities.

In 1966, Kentucky passed legislation to implement President John F. Kennedy’s Community Mental Health Act. The state established local centers that provide treatment and 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