Yarmuth: Bevin's 'very devious attempt' to force the feds to disapprove Medicaid waiver

06/29/2016 04:12 PM

It’s no secret that not everyone is a fan of Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to change the healthcare delivery model for those on Medicaid, but U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth says the Republican governor is actively trying to put forward a plan he’s knows can’t be approved.

Kentucky’s lone Democratic Congressman is “furious” with Bevin’s administration over the “very devious attempt” to change healthcare.

“What they’ve done is come up with a plan that cannot possibly be approved by [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services],” he said in an interview with Pure Politics. “They have poison pills in there … One is work requirement, you cannot have a work requirement in Medicaid that’s the nature of the program — it’s for the indigent or relatively indigent.”

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank, agrees with Yarmuth that the point of the program is to match people with health coverage who would not normally be able to afford it.

“In fact, work isn’t a requirement in any other health coverage program — individuals who get tax credits to help buy health coverage through the marketplace don’t have to work, nor do people who enroll in health coverage that their spouse’s employer offers,” Jessica Schubel from CBPP wrote in May of 2015.

Bevin’s plan for Medicaid is essentially to model health coverage for those on Medicaid after the state’s insurance plan for public employees, minus dental and vision coverage.

Yarmuth says the changes he’s put in place inside the plan will make it unacceptable for CMS to approve, and Bevin has already warned that he would repeal expanded Medicaid if CMS denied the state’s Medicaid waiver application.

Gov. Steve Beshear expanded Medicaid eligibility via executive order in 2013.

“I think he just wants to blame the Obama Administration for forcing him to roll back the Medicaid expansion,” Yarmuth said. “I think that is his ultimate goal. That’s what he said he would do on the campaign. And this gives him a way to do it with less political push back.

“I hope that the people of Kentucky figure out what he’s doing and don’t let him get away with it.”

Bevin’s press secretary Amanda Stamper told Pure Politics that the administration is confident the federal government will approve their waiver.

“We are confident that CMS will approve this innovative Medicaid waiver that will set Kentucky on a path to improve the health of our citizens and encourage self-sufficiency,” Stamper said in a statement sent to Pure Politics. “It’s unfortunate that Yarmuth is politicizing the process.”

One point that Yarmuth did compliment Bevin on was the proposal to use Medicaid dollars for pilot projects in 10 to 20 counties for drug addiction services.

Part of the project would also expand the eligibility for short-term treatment at institutions for mental disease to Medicaid recipients.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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