Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Bevin Approves Kentucky HEALTH Program

Bevin Approves Kentucky HEALTH Program

For those who missed it - and given what a big week it's been for abusing the country's most vulnerable, from Salvadorans who have lived in the US for more than a decade and now face deportation to hospital patients kicked to the curb in Baltimore, not to mention hearing how a president describes Haiti and African countries in the most vulgar of terms, that's understandable - but the Woodlawn-based Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released guidelines that open the door to allowing states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

But Bevin dismissed such comments and said the plan will transform Medicaid.

For the first time in the history of the program, the federal government will allow states to impose work requirements for access to Medicaid.

"The idea that we should just keep doing what we're doing is an insult to the people of Kentucky", Bevin said. Imposing a work requirement as a condition for people to receive public health insurance support could be the sparks that lights a fire and gets someone to decide to make those changes.

"It will be a model for the nation", he said.

The legislature passed a law in 2017 stating that the program will not be renewed this time around, unless a work requirement is authorized. That works out to be about $16,000 in annual earnings for an individual or about $32,000 for a family of four. A detailed evaluation of Medicaid expansion in OH by that state's Department of Medicaid explains how it pays off for workers and taxpayers. Louisville-based Passport Health covers about 25 percent of those.

More than half of Arkansas Works enrollees would likely qualify for an exemption, Human Services Department officials have said.

CMS told Bevin's office Friday that the agency had approved Kentucky's request and appreciated "the spirit of partnership" between the state and the agency.

Health care in the state has been a hot topic in recent weeks. Specifically, the ability to impose a work requirement among working-age, non-pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries not eligible for Medicaid on the basis of a disability was sought by 10 states as part of their application for a broader set of Medicaid waivers.

But people rarely make them because someone else forced them to.

Palestine slams United States ambassador to Israel for 'complicating road towards peace'
Ankara has strongly condemned the Israeli announcement about the construction of more than 1,100 homes in West Bank settlements. The status of Jerusalem has ignited tensions between Israelis and Palestinians for decades.

Bevin noted in a news conference Friday that Kentucky's is the first waiver with a community engagement requirement approved.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, too, sharply criticized Bevin's actions.

Former governor Steve Beshear originally expanded Kentucky's Medicaid program to include people making up to 138 percent of the poverty limit after the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, setting up a funding stream for states to expand the program for low-income Americans. Beneficiaries will manage a My Rewards Account and have Deductible Account, which provide incentives for preventive health services and serve as "an educational tool to inform beneficiaries about the cost of healthcare". Kentucky will lock beneficiaries out of coverage for noncompliance. "It's making people healthier that enables them to work", he said.

The federal government will let states implement a work requirement for certain medicaid recipients. In addition, Kentucky HEALTH will ensure availability of Medicaid resources to our most vulnerable citizens by saving an initial estimated $2 billion dollars (federal and state) over the waiver demonstration period, allowing these funds to be focused on those most in need and other critical areas.

That money pays for salaries of doctors, nurses, home health aides, who spend the money in Kentucky communities on homes, cars and groceries, he said.

An estimated 36 percent to 48 percent of USA children are insured by Medicaid, and kids make up 53 percent of Medicaid enrollees.

"This is in response to proposals we are receiving from states", said Seema Verma, who heads CMS.

Researchers examined the proportion of pediatricians accepting Medicaid before and after payments increased in 2013 and 2014 - and found gains in participation nationwide as well as in most studied states.

The different approaches reflect the complex political forces that surround safety-net programs.

Like this: