Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
Louisville, KY – This summer, a federal judge halted implementation of the Bevin Administration’s 1115 Medicaid Waiver to modify Kentucky’s Medicaid Program, and today, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its re-approval.
When it comes to this – or any policy – our question is always the same – “Is it good for kids?” And the key to this significant policy change’s success or failure lies in its implementation. Kentucky HEALTH’s initial rollout and ongoing management must be family-centric. That is especially true after the unintentional denial of routine dental care that several Medicaid-eligible children and pregnant women experienced in July due to the confusion after the hasty transition to the new eligibility platform.
We appreciate the exemption of several vulnerable populations from the waiver requirements, as it protects children, pregnant women, and transition-aged youth in foster care from the potential negative impacts of premiums, reduced benefit packages, and lockout periods.
And yet, it is also imperative to underscore the link between parental coverage and that of their children. Research unyieldingly shows us that when parents have health insurance, their children are more likely to have coverage. Because of the strong linkage between kid and parent coverage, we urge the Administration to ensure implementation of the new requirements are clear for families to understand, participate in, and utilize. Minimizing barriers to coverage and accessing services for parents is vital to ensuring children do not lose their coverage, even if children’s eligibility and benefits do not directly change.
This Administration has shown a commitment to children and families, and, as a result, we hope for and expect a family-friendly roll-out. The success story for Kentucky’s kids of late has been more and more gaining access to health insurance coverage, and this plan’s implementation must be a catalyst rather than an inhibitor to that trajectory of progress.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.