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Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:52 PM

Kentucky Governor Retaliates Against Poor After Court Rejects Medicaid Changes

Kentucky Governor Retaliates Against Poor After Court Rejects Medicaid Changes
Michael Corcoran Truthout
July 9, 2018

GOP cruelty is not new, but it seems to be reaching new depths. Case in point: In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin is now using the lives of Medicaid patients like pieces on a chessboard in an act of revenge and political spectacle.

Governor Bevin’s administration announced that he would deprive Medicaid patients of dental and vision benefits, effective immediately. This unilateral (and some say illegal) maneuver impacts 460,000 people in Kentucky. This occurred just hours after a federal court stopped his Kentucky Health plan, which would throw people off Medicaid with work requirements, deductibles and other administrative and economic obstacles.

The case in question is Stewart v. Azar. Through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Trump administration announced new guidelines in January to remake the program in the GOP’s image. His administration told the states they could implement work requirements and many other “community engagement” policies. These approaches have nothing to do with providing care, and everything to do with gutting the rolls. They would fundamentally change Medicaid, turning a program aimed at helping the deserving poor into a program that disciplines them for being poor in the first place.

On June 29, Federal Judge James E. Boasberg of the DC circuit, rejected Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approval of Kentucky’s plan, setting a precedent that puts similar proposals in at least 10 other states in jeopardy. It was also just in the nick of time: A mere 36 hours before Kentucky Health would’ve been in effect.


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