Medicaid

Facing Shortfall, Kentucky Mulls Ending Medicaid Expansion

Aug 30, 2018
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Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's administration could eliminate Kentucky's expanded Medicaid program to avoid a $300 million shortfall.

Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear expanded Kentucky's Medicaid program in 2014 under former President Barack Obama's health care law. The expanded program now covers more than 400,000 people.

Bevin opposed the expansion because he said it cost too much money and did not make people healthier. In January, the federal government gave Kentucky permission to impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients. But a federal judge blocked the program.

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Kentucky officials on Monday heard from the public on proposed state regulations that would go into effect if the federal government approves controversial Medicaid changes, also known as Kentucky HEALTH.

Those changes were blocked in June when a federal judge struck down the Trump administration’s approval of the Medicaid overhaul, after an advocacy group filed suit against the federal government. In July, the federal government re-filed the Medicaid waiver and opened a new comment period for those changes. That comment period just ended, and it’s likely changes will be re-approved at some point in the future.

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A new non-profit group in Kentucky is advocating state health care tax reform as a way to fund the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Balanced Health Kentucky is asking state lawmakers to review all of the health care industries in the commonwealth, and consider how much they are—or aren’t—being taxed.

Kentucky expanded the number of people eligible for Medicaid in 2014 under then-Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat.

J. Tyler Franklin

This week in Kentucky politics, Rand Paul was one of the few politicians to defend Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration restored vision and dental benefits to almost 400,000 people on Medicaid after taking them away earlier this month. And Kentucky’s bourbon industry ramped up its warnings about how a trade war would impact the state’s signature industry. 


Reversal: Kentucky Restoring Medicaid Benefits for Thousands

Jul 20, 2018
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Dental and vision care benefits will be restored for hundreds of thousands of Medicaid recipients in a sudden reversal by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's administration following an outcry over the recent cuts.

The coverage had been abruptly cut at the start of July after a federal judge rejected the Republican governor's plan to overhaul Kentucky's Medicaid program. The cuts triggered stinging criticism from Democrats and public health advocates.

The sudden about-face was announced late Thursday by the state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services and was welcomed by the administration's critics.

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More than 2,000 Kentuckians will have to pay more to receive Medicaid benefits that help them avoid nursing homes. The news comes after state officials said they’ve been charging the incorrect amount for over half a decade.

The change is scheduled to take effect on August 1 and applies to people with disabilities who receive at-home and community-based Medicaid services in Kentucky and make more than $750 per month.

Kentucky Health Cabinet officials say that for more than 5 years, the state hasn’t been collecting the correct amount for the “patient liability”— the amount beneficiaries have to pay every month.

Kentucky’s Blocked Medicaid Work Requirement Could Impact Indiana

Jul 9, 2018
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Nearly half a million low-income Kentuckians lost their dental and vision insurance this month after a federal judge halted Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver program.

Kentucky HEALTH, which stands for Helping to Engage and Achieve Long-Term Health, is part of Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver program. Starting in July, it would have required Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer for 20 hours a week to receive full benefits. Students, people with disabilities and pregnant women would be exempt from the work requirement, among others.

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Starting on Sunday, Kentuckians with Medicaid who gained coverage because of the expansion will lose access to dental and vision benefits following a Friday court ruling striking down Gov. Matt Bevin’s changes to the program.

This applies to adults who became eligible for Medicaid when it was expanded, including adults without dependents who the state considers “able-bodied.” These are the people who would have had to work, volunteer or do training for 80 hours a month to keep medical benefits under the plan proposed by Bevin.

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A federal judge on Friday struck down Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to put in place “community engagement” requirements for Medicaid coverage that were set to go into effect in some parts of the state on July 1.

That also includes the entirety of the new program, premiums, co-pays, loss of automatic vision and dental benefits and lock-out periods.

“In doing so, [the court] grants Plaintiffs full relief,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote for the court. “Because the Court invalidates that approval, it need not tackle Plaintiffs’ alternative bases for vacating some or all of the components.”

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This week in Kentucky politics, a judge struck down Kentucky’s new pension law, saying legislators broke the law by rushing the bill to passage. Kentucky’s health secretary says the state will have to cut benefits if a federal court blocks Gov. Matt Bevin’s changes to the Medicaid system. And Democrats no longer make up a majority of registered voters in the state. 


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Kentucky’s top health official says the state will cut benefits to Medicaid recipients if a federal court strikes down changes to the program set to roll out on July 1.

Gov. Matt Bevin got permission from the Trump administration to require “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients to pay monthly premiums and prove that they are working, volunteering, a full-time student or trying to find work in order to keep their health coverage.

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On Friday, a U.S. District Judge in Washington will hear arguments in the case against Kentucky’s sweeping Medicaid changes.

A group of 16 Kentucky residents filed suit in January, arguing Gov. Matt Bevin’s changes to the program are illegal. The approved changes, set to take effect July 1, will make many Medicaid enrollees work, volunteer or do other activities for 80 hours a month in order to keep health coverage. Other changes include limiting access to dental and vision services for some, making other enrollees pay premiums and installing lock-out periods for not making those payments.

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A federal judge could decide this week if Kentucky can move forward with changes to its Medicaid program. 

Kentucky was the first state in the nation to receive a waiver from U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The waiver sought by Governor Matt Bevin’s administration would require able-bodied adults to work or volunteer to maintain their Medicaid coverage.  Enrollees would also pay small premiums and face lockout periods for failing to renew their benefits on time.

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Ahead of the July 1 start date for changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program, Governor Matt Bevin has announced a partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to help educate enrollees on new requirements and assist some in making mandated payments to keep Medicaid insurance.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which primarily works to push health-related issues through Frankfort and commissions health studies, will create a separate foundation to run the Medicaid outreach.

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Governor Matt Bevin on Thursday appointed Adam Meier as secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which is responsible for running almost every government-involved health program in Kentucky.

Meier will replace Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, who stepped down earlier this year to run against Representative John Yarmuth in Louisville. The cabinet oversees the adoption system, foster care, child welfare, Medicaid, food assistance, hospital inspections, among others.

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