Hoover Wants KY to 'Opt Out' of Medicaid Expansion
By WestKyStar Staff
FRANKFORT, KY - House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover Thursday called on Governor Steve Beshear to have the Commonwealth of Kentucky legally opt out from implementing one of the costliest provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
“Last week’s Supreme Court ruling gave the states the legal flexibility to opt out of a massive expansion of the Medicaid program,” said Rep. Hoover, who is from Jamestown. “On behalf of the House Republican Caucus, I am encouraging Governor Steve Beshear to do just that and opt out of this financially devastating expansion of Medicaid.”
Data released from the Urban Institute estimates that there are nearly 400,000 uninsured Kentuckians who earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level, making them eligible for Medicaid benefits through the Affordable Care Act. If these people were added to Kentucky’s Medicaid system, it would represent a 48% increase.
“We have repeatedly had problems budgeting for the financial needs of our Medicaid system already,” Rep. Hoover noted. “Such a large increase would have a drastic effect on the financial stability of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and a detrimental effect on the other functions of government funded through the executive branch budget.”
The federal government has promised to initially pay 100% of the increase in Medicaid payments for the first three years, however after that a portion of the financial burden would shift to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for future years. The General Assembly would then have to choose whether to cut other government programs or raise taxes to fund the increased demand of Medicaid, neither of which Rep. Hoover sees as an acceptable route.
“The economic climate in which we exist has caused us to already cut state government agencies dramatically over the last two budget cycles. Further cuts would have a measurable negative effect on those they serve,” Rep. Hoover said. “However, even more importantly, the economic downturn has had a serious effect on families across Kentucky, and now is not the time for state government to be reaching further into their pockets through tax increases. It is for these reasons that I implore Governor Beshear to take the legal, responsible route that has been provided to him and have Kentucky opt out of the massive expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of insurance exchanges.”