Next Ken­tucky gover­nor will de­ter­mine state’s Oba­macare fu­ture

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - — Shan­non Much­more

Ken­tucky res­i­dents on Tues­day will choose their next gover­nor, who will de­ter­mine whether to con­tinue Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion in the state un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Re­cent polls show Demo­cratic can­di­date Jack Con­way, the state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, has a slight edge over Repub­li­can Matt Bevin, who has vowed to mod­ify the ex­pan­sion in­sti­tuted by out­go­ing Demo­cratic Gov. Steve Bes­hear.

Bevin has said he would seek a waiver to al­ter the pro­gram and pos­si­bly im­ple­ment one like In­di­ana’s, in which ben­e­fi­cia­ries pay pre­mi­ums for more cov­er­age. He also said he would abol­ish Kynect, the state’s health in­sur­ance ex­change. Con­way has said he would keep the cur­rent Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion model and con­tinue Kynect.

Ken­tucky, which is ranked 47th among the states for over­all health, has seen its unin­sured num­bers drop un­der the ACA more than al­most any other state. The unin­sured rate de­clined from more than 20% in De­cem­ber 2013 to about 9% this June, ac­cord­ing to the Gallup Or­ga­ni­za­tion. Ken­tucky was one of the only south­ern states to fully im­ple­ment the ACA, mostly be­cause of Bes­hear’s ac­tions.

The state’s cov­er­age ef­forts re­ceived an­other blow ear­lier this month, how­ever, when its co-op, Ken­tucky Health Co­op­er­a­tive, an­nounced it would close up shop by the end of the year.

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