As promised, newly elected Kentucky GOP Gov. Matt Bevin announced today that the plan is to scrap Medicaid expansion for 400,000 Kentuckians and to replace it with…something…in 2017.
Bevin, who campaigned on a pledge to reshape Medicaid and the expansion under the Affordable Care Act, said it will take time to change the program but he expects to succeed.
“We are going to transform the way Medicaid is delivered in Kentucky,” Bevin said.
Bevin has enlisted the help of Mark Birdwhistell, a former secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services under former Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
Birdwhistell, vice president for health services at the University of Kentucky, said he’s ready for the challenge.
“The people of Kentucky need a Medicaid system that is affordable and sustainable,” he said.
Bevin and Birdwhistell said Kentucky will begin work on a waiver they will ask the federal government to approve to let Kentucky establish its own Medicaid plan, as Indiana and some other states have done.
They expect to introduce the plan in 2017.
Bevin Wednesday morning voiced support for a Medicaid waiver system similar to the one used by Indiana to hold down costs and said an effort during the coming six months will show “whether this will work or not.”
Bevin went on to blame former Gov. Steve Beshear for getting Kentucky into an “unsustainable” Medicaid expansion which he called a “lie”, and mentioned Indiana’s Healthy Insurance Plan program as the model, which of course leaves the question “If Indiana’s Medicaid expansion replacement plan is working so well, why is GOP Gov. Mike Pence so upset about it being evaluated?”
Richard Mayhew can probably answer way more about this than I can, but so far to me it looks like Bevin is trying to set up Steve Beshear (and of course President Obama) to blame when a “workable alternative” to the current expansion magically fails to materialize six months down the road.
Richard Mayhew here: I am even more cynical than Zandar but more optimistic. Bevin looks like he is setting up a committee to set up a committee. It is a bureaucratic dodge as every hospital executive in the state has talked to Bevin’s people by now and told them they need Medicaid expansion to balance their books. What will happen is the alternative plan will be more punitive, more confusing and more expensive than a straight up expansion but it will still cover 400,000 or more people in the summer of 2017. It just won’t be called Medicaid Expansion, it will be Bevin AwesomeCare with Health Savings Accounts and Personal Responsibility Initiative Points.