by Daveda Gruber:
Many Medicaid recipients in the Bluegrass State will be working to receive coverage.
Kentucky becomes the first state to act on the Trump administration’s unique change in how people get healthcare.
This could affect millions of low-income people receiving benefits.
The new rule requires adults age 19 to 64 to complete 80 hours of “community engagement” per month to keep their care.
That would include working a job, going to school, taking a job-training course or volunteering. Fair enough? I think so.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said, “There is dignity associated with earning the value of something that you receive. The vast majority of men and women, able-bodied men and women … they want the dignity associated with being able to earn and have engagement.”
The Republican said the decision stemmed from concern about public health. Despite the fact that more Kentuckians have insurance, they’re not becoming any healthier.
The state, along with the rest of Appalachia, falls behind the rest of the U.S. in 33 out of 41 population health indicators.
Bevin believes the new work requirement will help change the statistic.
The move will save taxpayers more than $300 million over the next five years, Bevin’s office stated.
It also estimated that up to 95,000 people could lose their benefits because they either didn’t comply with the new rule or they obtained jobs that pay too much money and push them out of the low-income bracket.
There are some exemptions to the work requirements. Pregnant women, full-time students, former foster care youth, primary caregivers of children and the elderly and full-time students will not be affected.
People deemed “medically frail,” a broad term that includes people who are battling drug and alcohol addiction, will also be exempt.
It will be enforced starting in July and remain in effect for five years.
Democrats are critics of the new plan. They said the changes could lead to many low-income families being denied needed coverage because of technicalities and challenging new paperwork.
Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, represents Louisville. He is calling it a “dangerous and irresponsible” decision that will lead to the “financial ruin” or thousands of families that reside in Kentucky.
Medicaid covers more than 70 million people, or about one in five Americans.
At this time the largest government health insurance program does not required people to have a job or be employed to receive the benefits.
If they are capable of working, even community work, why shouldn’t they? Healthcare is a privilege. We never changed over to become Socialists or Communists. We are still a capitalist country, right?