Governor Defends Medicaid Expansion; Others Wary

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- We're now several weeks into a new age of health care in the country and here in Kentucky.

However, not everyone is convinced this is the best idea, because of a possible shortfall in funding.

In May of this year, Governor Steve Beshear D-Kentucky called his decision to expand Medicaid the biggest decision in our lifetime.

The governor said it's going to infuse over 15 billion dollars over the next eight years into Kentucky's economy.

"You're going to create about 17,000 new jobs, and it's going to have a positive budget impact over the next eight years of about $800 million," said Gov. Beshear.

Critics of the expansion ask how is the state going to be able to fund this?

Beshear said that's a question he asked himself, so that's why he said he had Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the University of Louisville research the numbers of the expansion.

"I can't put Kentucky in a place that will bankrupt us and I need to know. They did a study for us, came back and said, Governor you can't really afford not to do this," said Beshear.

So, here's how the funding for the expansion works.

The federal government will fund it fully for the first three years, and then the state will have to help foot the bill gradually increasing to 10% making it a 90/10 split.

Some are worried the federal government may not deliver on its end of the bargain.

"They've made $80 trillion of promises they haven't put money away for, they have unfunded liability in Social Security, unfunded liability in Medicare, this is just one more unfunded liability," said BB&T Professor for Study of Capitalism Dr. Brian Strow.

"We will more than offset that 10% by all of the new tax income and everything that will come in off the infusion of this money into our economy," said Beshear.

Strow said there's not a way to know right now and only time will show if this works.

This all stems from the Affordable Care Act, not all states have done this.

Kentucky both expanded Medicaid and set up its own health care exchange site called Kynect.

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