Yarmuth: Court got it right on Medicaid decision, questions still out on if Bevin can halt dental, vision coverage

07/03/2018 03:55 PM

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, agrees with a federal judge that struck down implementation of a waiver designed to alter Medicaid for some in Kentucky, and he doesn’t think the decision will be overturned.

Speaking to Pure Politics on Tuesday, Yarmuth said laws surrounding making changes to Medicaid is relatively clear, in order to impose work requirements or other things, you have to either improve coverage or improve quality.

“Bevin’s waiver, on its face it says it’s going to take coverage from 95,000 people, and there’s no claim that it’s going to improve coverage,” Yarmuth said, adding he felt the judge striking down the waiver was correct.

What’s not settled, Yarmuth said is what happens next to dental and vision coverage which the Bevin administration struck for the 460,000 in the Medicaid expansion population following the court ruling.

As Pure Politics first reported Bevin’s administration struck the benefits even before the Center Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the transition of dental and vision coverage to the 1115 waiver.

The Louisville Democrat said he spoke to Andy Slavitt, the former head of CMS under President Obama, who told Yarmuth he doesn’t think Bevin can transition those benefits without going through the process.

Yarmuth said the he also called CMS on Monday to find out their opinion on the legality, and they said they didn’t know.

“Meanwhile, the question is does it make sense as a policy. Eliminating dental and vision care for that population … is cruel as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

Watch the full conversation with Yarmuth on Medicaid issue, and his thoughts on how Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, got it wrong and opened the door for McConnell to breeze through a Supreme Court nominee.

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