Governor Beshear Expands Medicaid to 300,000 Uninsured Kentuckians

Governor Steve Beshear made the decision this week to provide health insurance to more than 300,000 uninsured Kentuckians who were not previously eligible for health insurance or were not provided care by their employers.  The Federal Government will cover the cost of the program for the first three years then gradually decreasing it to paying 90% of the cost.

More Health Care Coverage Is the RIGHT Decision for Kentucky

  • I am proud of Governor Beshear’s decision to give over 300,000 Kentuckians health care coverage.
  • It’s the right decision not only to make people healthier, but the right decision for our bottom line.  In fact, studies show that it will cost us MORE in the short and long run if we don’t expand.
  • More Health Care Coverage Will Make Kentucky Healthier
  • We all know Kentuckians need to get healthier.  We rank 50th in smoking, 40th in obesity, 43rd in sedentary lifestyles, 41st in diabetes, 48th in poor mental health days, 49th in poor physical health days, 50th in cancer deaths, 49th in cardiac heart disease, 43rd in high cholesterol, 44th in annual dental visits and 48th in heart attacks.
  • Giving more people health insurance means they will stop delaying needed care, start getting preventive  care and show up in the emergency room less often to treat expensive chronic illnesses that could have been prevented or treated in their doctors’ offices.

Expansion Means Almost 17,000 More Jobs, $15.6 Billion Economic Impact 

  • According to an independent analysis conducted by the University of Louisville, expanding Medicaid will lead to a cumulative positive economic impact of $15.6 billion between FY14 and FY21.  This impact is because of the new health care spending that will occur, the nearly 17,000 jobs that will be created because of this expansion, and the local and state tax revenue that will be generated from those jobs.  These jobs will have an annual average salary of more than $43,000. 
  • It will also lead to a $802.4 positive impact for our budget between FY14 and FY21.

If We Don’t Expand, the State, Businesses, Hospitals and Uninsured Will Suffer

  • Despite opponents’ claims, we can afford to expand.  In fact, the research shows we cannot afford to reject expansion.  Because of new costs the Affordable Care Act requires states to pick up regardless of whether they expand, it would cost the state more to not expand than to expand.  In fact, not expanding would mean a negative budget impact of $38.9 million for the state.
  • Penalties for the uninsured mean that if Kentucky does not expand, our employers will face penalties between $32 million and $48 million every year.
  • Without expansion, hospitals will receive $288 million less financial assistance to cover costs of serving the uninsured who show up in their facilities for care.

Time to Put Aside Political Games – The Affordable Care Act Is the Law of the Land

  • Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, the President signed the bill, and the United States Supreme Court upheld the law.  It is time for opponents to stop fighting what is the law of the land, and start finding ways that we can work together to make our people healthier, make our economy stronger, and quit the partisan, political games.
  • The federal government has clarified that decisions states make about Medicaid expansion are not permanent and can be revisited in the future.  Kentucky can decide to pull back the expansion at any time should funding or circumstances warrant such a move.

20 Other States Are Expanding

  • Twenty other states are also making the decision to improve health care outcomes for their states, and some of those states are led by Republicans.  This is not a partisan issue.  This is about doing what is best for the future of the state.