Gov. Beshear on Medicaid Expansion: "Biggest Decision in our Lifetime"


"This decision about health care in Kentucky and the expansion of Medicaid, I think we're going to find is the biggest decision that's been made in our lifetimes on health care in Kentucky," said Gov. Beshear.

Governor Steve Beshear recently unveiled his new Medicaid plan that would cover an additional 308,000 people.

"This decision about health care in Kentucky and the expansion of Medicaid, I think we're going to find it is the biggest decision that's been made in our lifetimes on health care in Kentucky," said Gov. Beshear.

Through the Affordable Care Act, Beshear was able to make a bombshell announcement.

The state Medicaid program already provides for some 800,000 Kentuckians, but now it brings in so many more.

"By expanding this Medicaid program, we're going to cover 308,000 and then when you couple it with health benefits exchange we're setting up under the Affordable Care Act, where additional people can go in and find affordable health care and most of them will have premium subsidies available for them," said Beshear.

The announcement hasn't come without criticism though.

Lawmakers said there was no real discussion about it.

"We felt like we really needed to have some time to investigate this, to vet it, to go through and look at it and debate the facts on there, yet we haven't had the opportunity to do that," said Sen. Mike Wilson R-Bowling Green.

Legislators are also worried it isn't financially responsible.

The federal government will fund it completely the first three years, then the state will contribute increasing gradually to ten percent by 2020.

Governor Beshear said he had the University of Louisville and PricewaterhouseCoopers perform a study and from that study he said it will actually be a financial plus in eight years.

"At the end of that eight years, our budget impact is going to be $800 million to the positive, and that is after taking into consideration the match we're going to have to pay. I'd invite everybody to just look at the facts and you can't argue with it," said Beshear.

Regardless, if you agree or not now several hundred thousand more people in the state will have health care.

Warren County has about 18,000 uninsured people and about half of those will get Medicaid quickly because the expansion is expected to go into effect in January.


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