Mara Powell
502-895-8167 *122

Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

Today, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the Bevin Administration’s 1115 Medicaid Waiver to modify Kentucky’s Medicaid Program. The key to this significant policy change’s success or failure lies in its implementation. Kentucky HEALTH’s initial roll-out and on-going administration must be family-centric.

When it comes to this – or any policy – our question is always the same – “Is it good for kids?” There is much in this plan to applaud when it comes to young people. As an example, the waiver protects children, pregnant women, and former foster youth up to age 26 from the potential negative impacts of premiums, reduced benefit packages, and lockout periods.

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 therefore, we hope and expect a family-friendly roll-out. The success story for Kentucky’s kids of late has been health insurance coverage, and this plan’s implementation must be a catalyst rather than an inhibitor to that trajectory of progress.