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Final Hearing on Bevin's Proposed Medicaid Overhaul Attracted Room Full of People in Hazard

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Governor Bevin’s plan to substantially change the state Medicaid program got another public review Wednesday. The third and final public hearing in Hazard attracted a room full of onlookers.

In announcing the plan to transform Medicaid, Governor Bevin said it would empower people to improve their health while ensuring its financial sustainability. Among other things, it calls for able bodied Kentuckians to work, volunteer, or do other community engagement to receive benefits.

Hazard resident Adriane Bush expressed concern about proposed restrictions. “As a mother of a seven year old, I know that if I can’t take care of myself, I don’t do a very good job of taking care of my daughter. So, I guess I would just ask that we continue to have some thoughtful dialogue,” said Bush.

Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, testified before state health officials, “Components like work requirements premiums have been tested in prior Medicaid experiments and other social safety net programs, and rather than increasing economic well being, they’re shown to reduce coverage and drive more people into deep poverty.”

A number of people testified in favor of proposed changes in substance abuse treatment as a way to get people off Medicaid.

The hearings were part of the process as the state seeks a Medicaid waiver from the federal government. All comments about the plan must be received by July 22nd.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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