Kentucky: As promised, just like that, new Gov. Andy Beshear eliminates Medicaid work requirements

Elections matter.

True to his word, newly-inaugurated Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has indeed eliminated the state's controversial and much-litigated Medicaid work requirement provision for the 400,000 state residents who are on the low-income healthcare program thanks to the Affordable Care Act:

Former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s controversial plan to impose work requirements and monthly premiums for many Kentucky Medicaid recipients is no more, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday.

(Monday = Last Monday; this is from a week ago)

In one of his first major moves as the 63rd governor of Kentucky, Beshear signed an executive order Monday rescinding Bevin’s Kentucky HEALTH plan, which sought to impose strict work requirements for able-bodied, working-age adults. It would have ended health coverage for an estimated 95,000 Kentuckians.

"Rescinding this waiver is not only the right thing to do, it is the moral, faith-driven thing to do,” Beshear said.

As of December 2, more than 1.3 million people in Kentucky were insured through the state’s $9.7 billion Medicaid program, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

...Emily Beauregard, executive director for Kentucky Voices for Health, called Beshear’s order "a huge victory for consumer health advocates and the thousands of Kentuckians who raised their voices to oppose harmful barriers to care.”

"More than 400,000 Kentuckians can breathe easier today, knowing that they won’t be at risk of losing access to the health care services they need to maintain their health, can go to work without worrying about an illness or injury, and can take care of their families,” she said.

Oh yeah...he also eliminated this stupidity:

General technological and administrative upkeep for Bevin’s reporting system was estimated to cost the state $272 million through fiscal year 2020, an October report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded.

I ran the numbers on this issue for Michigan recently, so let's do the same for Kentucky:

  • According to the Michigan Fiscal Agency, Medicaid for the expansion population (adults without children) will cost the state around $633 per enrollee.
  • While there's no way of knowing whether this ratio applies to Kentucky's Medicaid expansion population as well, assuming it does, that means it should cost the state around $1,100 per enrollee.
  • $272 million / $1,100 = 247,272 Kentucky Medicaid expansion enrollees.

Yes, that's right: Assuming Bevin's work requirement program had gone through and had indeed ended up kicking 95,000 Kentuckians off of the program, it would have cost the state over 2 1/2 times as much as it "saved" (and of course it wouldn't actually save much anyway, since many of those 95,000 people would get sick/injured, go in for Emergency Room care and rack up millions of dollars in uncompensated expenses for state hospitals, much of which of course would eventually be passed along ot the state itself anyway.

Oh, there's another nice tidbit as well:

Bevin dismantled the KYnect health exchange, instead relying on the federal government’s insurance sign-up portal. Beshear wouldn’t say definitively whether he would reinstate KYnect, but he said he was a "huge supporter” of that program and he is "looking at all of those options right now.”

Do it, Gov. Beshear!