A federal judge in Washington D.C. has struck down Kentucky's plan to start requiring some Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer in order to continue receiving benefits.
The ruling blocks Gov. Matt Bevin's administration from implementing the change, which was scheduled to start Monday in one Northern Kentucky county and extend to most of the rest of the state by the end of the year.
When the requirements were first challenged in January, Bevin warned that if the work requirements were defeated in court, he would unilaterally end Medicare expansion in the state and nearly a half-million Kentuckians -- more than 10% of the state -- would immediately lose health care coverage as a result. He wasted no time in taking those hostages.
Now it seems Bevin is slicing off fingers as proof he's willing to hurt as many of those hostages as possible...or in this case, he's sending back eyes and teeth.
Gov. Matt Bevin's administration announced it is cutting Medicaid dental and vision benefits to nearly half a million Kentuckians after a judge on Friday rejected his plan to overhaul the government health plan.
The decision prompted an outcry Monday from Democrats who called the Republican governor's move rash, harsh and possibly illegal.
"We've got to have the public rise up," said U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville. "This is going to be extremely dangerous for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky."
On Sunday, the Bevin administration in an email described the cuts as "an unfortunate consequence of the judge's ruling."
On Monday, it followed with a statement saying it was "working through" impacts of the judge's order and that it hopes to "quickly resolve the fallout from the court ruling."
Democrats including Yarmuth, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, several state legislators and Louisville Metro Council President David James held a press conference to denounce the cuts, which were made after Bevin's Medicaid overhaul was rejected by a federal judge in Washington D.C.
Medicaid, an $11 billion-a-year health plan in Kentucky, covers about 1.4 million people, more than 600,000 of them children. The federal government provides about 80 percent of the money for Kentucky's Medicaid program.
Bevin's changes to Medicaid that include work requirements, premiums and other new rules, were to take effect Sunday.
But on Friday, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg vacated Bevin's entire plan and sent it back to officials at the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services for further review, The judge said the Trump administration, in approving the plan, didn't consider the basic provisions of federal Medicaid law, which is to provide access to health care for low-income and vulnerable citizens.
Speakers on Monday expressed outrage at Bevin's cuts.
Fischer called Bevin's actions "unnecessary and callous." State Sen. Gerald Neal called the cuts "not only a rash step, but a harsh step."
And state Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, a Democrat from South Louisville, said the impact is hardest on the many poor people covered by Medicaid who work at low-wage jobs and are struggling to keep up with all the changes.
"It's red tape for poor people," she said.
So Bevin has now taken vision and dental care away from more than 10% of the state, just to be an asshole. Personally, I've never wanted a man to be defeated more soundly in a Governor's race than I do right now.
Matt Bevin should resign in utter shame and he should have to face the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians whose lives he just directly harmed through his complete disregard for human dignity.
When I say Republicans exist to punish the people Obama and the Democrats helped, this is exactly what I mean. They are emotionally cauterized sociopaths.
And Matt Bevin? He's one of the worst of the lot.