Weekly paper in Hazard says Beshear should expand Medicaid

Gov. Steve Beshear should expand the Medicaid program for the poor under federal health reform to improve the health and welfare of Kentuckians, The Hazard Herald said in its editorial this week.

“We’re tired of reading report after report listing the health of
Kentucky’s people at the bottom nationally,” the weekly newspaper said. “That is especially the case
in Eastern Kentucky, where here in Perry County we ranked as the 119th
unhealthiest county out of 120, according to a recent study. In fact,
the vast majority of the bottom 20 counties are here in Eastern
Kentucky. There are many dire needs in our region of the state,
from jobs to education to better access to health care. Here is one
instance where our government, which the people fund, can opt to very
possibly improve the lives of its citizens.”

The federal government would pay the costs of expanding Medicaid to people in households with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level from 2014 through 2016. The state would pay 3 percent in 2017, rising to 10 percent in 2020. The editorial noted critics’ warnings about costs, and a study predicting that expansion would increase the state’s total Medicaid costs only 6.3 percent. “But, in truth, this is simply a monetary argument from interests on both
sides of the debate,” the paper said. “We feel the greatest interest belongs to the
people of Kentucky. We feel the greatest priority should be placed on
improving the health and welfare of our people.” (Read more)

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