What Medicaid Expansion Means in Kentucky

Poverty rates are generally higher in rural areas than urban centers. Also, residents of rural Kentucky are more likely than their urban neighbors to be self-employed or working for a small business without employer-sponsored health insurance. They are, therefore, more likely to be uninsured or underinsured.
As written, the Affordable Care Act would expand Medicaid eligibility to all adults below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled that states could not be compelled to participate. Fortunately, Governor Steve Beshear has indicated his support for Medicaid expansion.

That decision will determine whether over 100,000 Kentuckians who fall below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, such as a family of three earning less than $26,344 annually, will continue to struggle to find affordable health insurance if the state declines to participate in the Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid provides a crucial healthcare safety net for those rural residents most in need. And the expansion of Medicaid would bring in several billion dollars from the federal government by 2020, potentially financing the creation of over ten thousand ongoing Kentucky jobs. Moreover, expanding Medicaid will help alleviate some of the costs of uncompensated care for the uninsured, reducing premiums for those with private insurance.

Over ten thousand healthcare jobs, lower insurance premiums for the currently insured and access to affordable healthcare coverage for over 100,000 hard-working Kentuckians, many of whom lack coverage today, all speak in favor of expanding Medicaid in the state, for rural Kentucky in particular.

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