Kentucky Waiver A Mean-Spirited Leap Backwards

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Lucy Dagneau, (617) 275-2876 / (860) 966-2845

(BOSTON) -- Statement of Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst, regarding the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services’ approval of Kentucky’s 1115 waiver application.  

“Today’s announcement that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has approved the Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid Section 1115 waiver is deeply troubling and could lead to irreparable damage to the health and economic security of hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.

“The waiver contains several extremely alarming provisions that would lock individuals out of coverage and take away critical benefits. It would also enforce a harmful work requirement that would make people jump through burdensome administrative hoops just to see their doctor, or, in too many cases, cause people to lose their health care coverage. As a result of yesterday’s announcement from CMS that they will approve work requirements in Medicaid going forward, Kentucky is now the first state to impose work requirements on its Medicaid expansion population.

“The approval of these flawed and harmful provisions flies directly in the face of what Kentuckians want for their state’s Medicaid program. In a recent poll, two out of three registered voters in Kentucky say Medicaid should be left as is instead of scaled back under the Bevin administration’s plan to cover fewer people. It is disappointing that Governor Bevin has continued to pursue policies that his constituents are not asking for and, in many cases, outright reject.

“Taking someone’s health care away because of unnecessary administrative requirements or a paperwork error is too high a price for someone to pay. With this new waiver, Governor Bevin, his administration, and officials at CMS are simply punishing people who are struggling to make ends meet while working multiple jobs, raising kids or dealing with ongoing health issues. The decision to approve these unprecedented policies in Medicaid is not about promoting health or work – it is about taking health coverage away from low-income people.”

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About Community Catalyst

Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable, quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

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