Statement on Governor’s Announcement to Expand Medicaid

We applaud the Governor’s announcement today to expand Medicaid to adults and parents to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Through this expansion, thousands of Kentuckians will be able to receive needed health care, at a small cost to the state. The research is clear. Many uninsured parents delay or forgo care due to cost, causing health conditions to worsen. Also, when parents are covered, they are more likely to take their children to the doctor for well-child exams and are in a better state of health to keep their families financially secure. The expansion will help an estimated 97,000 uninsured Kentucky parents receive health coverage.

Expanding Medicaid for adults without health insurance is a smart investment for Kentucky. It creates an opportunity to address the health needs of Kentucky citizens without adding too great a burden on the state budget. As health outcomes improve due to more people being insured and receiving needed health services, health care costs are likely to decrease and money will be saved that is currently being spent to pay for healthcare for the uninsured. For example, individuals without health insurance often wait until health problems progress and then seek care in the emergency room. Medicaid coverage will help many of these individuals be able to afford and access care in a doctor’s office or clinic before health issues worsen, which is cheaper than emergency room care. It’s a win for adults, a win for their kids and a win for the state budget. It’s also a move that Kentucky voters support by a 40-point margin. The Governor has a history of stepping up for child and family health, and today’s announcement represents another step forward for our state.