Gov. Matt Bevin will end Kentucky's Medicaid expansion if courts prohibit his work requirements

Posted at 10:58 AM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 18:03:56-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky's Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act will come to a grinding halt should a court strike down Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed overhaul of the federal-state health plan, The Hill reports.

Former Gov. Steve Beshear, a democrat, expanded Medicaid under Obamacare to include about 480,000 more people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level -- or $16,643. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the executive order Bevin signed on Friday means they could lose that new coverage.

RELATED: Kentucky is first to get OK for Medicaid work requirement

The state's Section 1115 waiver received a federal stamp of approval on Friday, requiring able-bodied adults to complete 80 hours of community engagement and pay $15 per month to receive Medicaid coverage, according to The Hill.

Nobody has filed a legal challenge yet, the Courier-Journal reports, but several advocacy groups have said the waiver could violate federal law that doesn't permit work requirements since Medicaid is a health program. The National Health Law Program in Washington is among those groups.

"Is the governor of Kentucky saying that if he is caught doing something illegal, he will take health care away from hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who have done nothing wrong?" asked Leonardo Cuello, director of health policy for the National Health Law Program.

A Bevin spokesperson told the Courier-Journal that Bevin has very consistently promised to terminate the state's Medicaid expansion should a court stop its implementation.

"(T)he Commonwealth has invested significant resources in preparing for the implementation of Kentucky's 1115 Waiver, and any delay in the implementation of the waiver due to judicial action will cause fiscal harm to the commonwealth and will prevent Medicaid beneficiaries from realizing the benefits under the Waiver,” Bevin's executive order reads.

Read the full executive order in the box below.