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Kentucky Governor Still Mulling Medicaid Expansion, Consequences

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says he's not ready to make a decision about expanding the state's Medicaid rolls. The federal health care law, upheld by the Supreme Court, allows states to opt out of a Medicaid expansion, which some Republican leaders in the Kentucky legislature have urged the governor to do.

Beshear told WKU Public Radio on Wednesday that he still has a lot to consider.

"We're a pretty unhealthy state.  We've got a whole lot of people that aren't covered by any type of affordable health care that end up going into the emergency room which is the most expensive type of health care and the taxpayers end up paying for that," said Beshear.

Governor Beshear says his administration is working to find out exactly how many Kentuckians would become Medicaid-eligible, though outside estimates have suggested 300,000. Beshear says he must also consider what a Medicaid expansion will cost the state in the long run.

Opponents argue the state will have to make further budget cuts or raise taxes to accomodate the additional enrollees.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.