KY Policy Blog

Why the Senate COVID Proposal Fails to Meet Kentucky’s Economic Needs

By Dustin Pugel
July 29, 2020

The new Senate aid proposal, known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability and Schools (HEALS) Act, falls far short of the breadth and depth of aid needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and weather the deep economic downturn. By including only 1/3 of the funds contained in the HEROES Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives back in May, it leaves out critical assistance aimed at helping laid off workers, holding off a wave of evictions, fighting hunger, and preventing harmful cuts to state and local governments. Providing inadequate read more

Covering All Uninsured Black Kentuckians Is Crucial to Achieving Universal Coverage

By Dustin Pugel
June 17, 2020
Black Kentuckians have had higher rates of infection and death from COVID-19 due to disparities in health caused by historical inequities in wages, the justice system, education, housing, health care and more. Last week Governor Beshear committed to ensuring every Black Kentuckian is covered by health insurance. Using the most recent data available, 6.4% of Black Kentuckians (21,000 people) are uninsured compared to 5.4% of white Kentuckians and 5.5% of all Kentuckians. Implementing strategies to cover all Black Kentuckians tackles the immediate crisis revealed by the pandemic and can pave read more

What’s in the HEROES Act for Kentucky

By Dustin Pugel and Jason Bailey
May 22, 2020
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the HEROES Act, a bill that would provide the kind of substantial economic relief Kentucky and other states need in the face of the COVID-19 recession. The Senate must now join the House and agree to a relief package that adequately supports families, governments and businesses through this crisis and sets the stage for a robust economic recovery when the pandemic is eventually behind us.

Here are what major elements of the HEROES Act would mean for Kentucky:

Substantial relief to state and read more

Medicaid Has Responded Quickly to COVID-19, Congress Should Boost Support

By Dustin Pugel
May 20, 2020
In March and April, Medicaid enrollment in Kentucky grew by 67,216, largely in response to COVID-19. This sudden increase in participation is a good sign that Medicaid, as a health insurance program for low-income Kentuckians, is responding exactly as it was designed to – including through a special, temporary form of coverage called presumptive eligibility (PE). To ensure Medicaid can continue to do its job without a huge strain on already cash-strapped state governments, Congress should provide additional funding through an increase in the federal share of the program spending. read more

228,300 Kentuckians Have Likely Lost Health Coverage Since the Beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Jessica Klein
April 28, 2020

In the context of unprecedented job loss due to COVID-19, much attention has rightly been paid to the surge in unemployment insurance claims. In Kentucky, unemployment claims have been stacking up since the necessary stay-at-home orders and business and school closures in late March, and now stand at almost 500,000 claims. An important consequence of rising unemployment is that because many Kentuckians have health insurance through their employers, approximately 228,300 Kentuckians have likely also lost their health care coverage.

A recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute estimates 45.7% of read more

Policies Addressing Kentucky’s Underlying Health Challenges Could Better Prepare Us for Public Health Crises, Like COVID-19

By Jessica Klein
March 19, 2020

As a result of factors contributing to the state’s poor health, Kentucky is especially vulnerable to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new annual report from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps provides data about the relatively large share of Kentuckians already in poor health and who are at a higher risk of serious complications from the coronavirus.

When compared to other states, Kentuckians are at a higher risk of COVID-19 becoming a serious illness, over 45% of people older than 60 and read more

Paid Sick Leave Legislation Would Protect Health and Promote Economic Security

By Jessica Klein and Ashley Spalding
March 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is illustrating why Kentuckians must be able to stay home from work when they are sick. When people don’t have access to paid sick leave, the negative economic impacts they face for simply following common sense guidelines like staying home when sick, put us all at risk.

Too few jobs provide paid sick leave, especially impacting women and people of color in low wage jobs

Too few jobs provide paid sick leave, particularly low-wage service jobs at the front line of public interaction such as early care read more

Kentucky Response to COVID-19: Inadequate Rainy Day Fund Heightens Need for Federal Aid and More State Revenue

By Jason Bailey
March 13, 2020

States set aside rainy day funds to draw on when economic downturns or crises hit. Governor Beshear may well need to tap the state’s rainy day fund to deal with the costs of directly addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, which he has the authority to do after declaring a State of Emergency.

But Kentucky has among the most depleted rainy day funds in the country, with only enough money for the equivalent of 4 days of state budget needs (and 10 days by the summer, after additional dollars are scheduled to read more

Kentucky Response to COVID-19: Protect State Economy Through Improved Unemployment Insurance

By Dustin Pugel
March 12, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked concerns about an economic slowdown resulting from widespread shutdowns in the global economy, and recent cancellations of large events in the United States. Continued economic chilling will almost certainly lead to layoffs in Kentucky, and so to plan for that, lawmakers in Frankfort and Washington DC need to prepare our unemployment insurance (UI) program to dampen the economic harm caused by rising joblessness.

Federal improvements to UI are needed, but state action is required

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act being considered in Congress would read more

HB 21 Would Protect Kentuckians with Preexisting Conditions If ACA Protections Lost

By Dustin Pugel
March 10, 2020

Nearly 1.8 million Kentuckians have a preexisting health condition that, if it were not for specific protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), could lead to them being denied coverage, having certain kinds of medical benefits withheld or having their cost-sharing portion increased. Now, with the ACA in jeopardy due to a federal court case, House Bill 21 (HB 21) sponsored by Rep. Patti Minter would ensure that should those federal protections in the ACA be struck down, Kentucky would keep some of the most important protections on the state read more