Gov. Matt Bevin announced Wednesday he's seeking a Medicaid waiver from the federal government.
If the Medicaid waiver is approved, Bevin said it will result in $2.2 billion in taxpayer savings.
Bevin announced his "transformative and sustainable program" called Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health, or HEALTH. Under the plan, Kentucky would impose premiums on able-bodied adults from $1 to $15, depending on their income levels.
Bevin said requiring Medicaid expansion users to pay for their own premiums will give them "dignity and respect." The program is about teaching people, he said, emphasizing it is a "learning experience."
One catch though, for people who have been on Medicaid for "years" it seems that $15 a month may not "fully cover" benefits. Also, it seems that Gov. Bevin will "use health care dollars" to address the state's opoid addiction epidemic, but he doesn't say how. On top of that, there are several things that will no longer be covered by HEALTH that Medicaid in Kentucky covers now, like "non-emergency transportation". Also, Bevin says that the program will go statewide but start as a "trial" in "select counties" first, by which I'm betting he means Fayette and Jefferson counties. You know, Lexington and Louisville. Where those people live.
That's how he'll get away with it with the voters until after he's up for re-election in 2019.
Oh, and finally, he's taking 400,000 hostages.
Bevin said if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does not grant the waiver, he will still move ahead with his plan to repeal Medicaid expansion in the state.
Understand that this is an open threat to 400,000 Kentuckians: accept being one of the poorest states in the nation where Medicaid recipients have to pay monthly premiums, or Bevin will kick them off health coverage completely.
By the way, you can laugh at Kentucky being stupid all you want to, but I won't spend too much time on it. Should the Republicans win in November, the Bevin HEALTH plan is coming to your state, too.