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Stage Set For Battle Over Ky. Medicaid Expansion

While Governor Steve Beshear is focused on the 2014 open enrollment for Kynect, Republicans have their eye on 2017.

With the state’s Medicaid rolls swelling by more than 425,000 since the launch of the state’s health insurance exchange, GOP gubernatorial candidates Hal Heiner and James Comer are both worrying aloud about the cost. Both candidates recently spoke with cn|2 Pure Politics.

"We’re signed up for an expansion that we have absolutely no way to pay for, and unless we grow this economy in Kentucky we’ll not be able to continue with it," Heiner argued.

"Now we're faced with one out of four Kentuckians enrolled in Medicaid," Comer said. "That normal number in a normal state is around eight to twelve percent. In Kentucky we have 25 percent of the state on Medicaid. That's not sustainable."

Still, Beshear points to a PricewaterhouseCoopers/University of Louisville economic study that estimated Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion would infuse $15B into the economy and create 17,000 new jobs over eight years.

Starting in 2017, the state will be on the hook for a portion of the expansion, with the financial commitment topping out at 10 percent beginning in 2020.

State House Republicans expect the first bill to be close to $90M. 

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