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Medicaid Proposal Not Sitting Well With Some Kentuckians

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Wednesday saw the second of three scheduled public hearings on Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed changes to Medicaid in Kentucky, and it attracted a large and mostly skeptical crowd.

A.J. Jones of Louisville, one of the speakers at the meeting, took issue with a key pillar of the administration’s case – specifically that Medicaid recipients will benefit from greater involvement in the process through premiums, work requirements, and mandates to move toward employer insurance.

"I don't understand how you think this proposal gives anyone dignity. I don't think it's dignified to pick up trash on the side of the road to have my tooth pulled. I don't think that you think it's dignified to do that. I think if you did you'd pick up trash on the side of the road to get your tooth pulled," Jones said.

If the waiver is granted approval as is, beneficiaries would lose dental and vision coverage with the option of earning them back through a rewards system. Attendance at the hearing underscored what’s at stake for the nearly one-third of Kentuckians who are currently enrolled in Medicaid. The packed house also heard from Bevin’s chief of staff, Adam Meier.

"This whole plan is really to help teach people how to be engaged in their health and their insurance plan, to teach them how commercial coverage works and the basic elements of those programs," he said.

The hearing was part of a 30-day public comment period for the waiver. The last meeting takes place July 6 in Hazard. The final product will require approval by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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