Day 41 – Medicaid at 50: State Highlight: Kentucky

Over the coming weeks this blog will highlight a key feature of Medicaid and the individual states that administer Medicaid and CHIP leading up to the program’s 50th anniversary (July 30th). Hopefully, you’ll learn some interesting facts about Medicaid and each of the 51 state programs.

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Basics: Kentucky Medicaid covers 1,140,261 lives (of which 388,000+ since 2014)

If we’re going to tell a story about Kentucky Medicaid, it has to be about the Affordable Care Act. Although Sen. Mitch McConnell spends a substantial amount of his time railing against the ACA, back in his home state of Kentucky, they’ve embraced it – as long as you don’t call it Obamacare. In Kentucky, the initiative is known as kynect (shoutout to Kentucky for their apparent talent for branding and tag lines). Governor Steve Beshear was fully committed from the start, and it seems to be paying off. Close to 400,000 people have signed up for Medicaid since the expansion took effect in 2014. The rate of uninsured in the state dropped from 20.4% in 2013 to 11.9% in 2014. A new report by Deloitte on the KY Medicaid expansion finds that the economic benefits are looking good, too: an estimated $1.1 billion in expansion-related economic activity in CY 2014 alone; $1.1 billion reduction in uncompensated care by hospitals; and, as many as 40,000 new jobs. These may be rosy numbers, but the general trend is promising. My favorite part of the report is this expansion dashboard, where in addition to enrollment and payments by county, you can see some of the services rendered. I mean, 33,214 people have gotten a physical exam – that’s Medicaid in action!!!

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