Kentucky Governor Threatens to Take Away Medicaid from Half a Million People if They Won't Work For It

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If you need any more proof that the new rules allowing states to tie Medicaid benefits to work requirements are nothing more than a malicious attack on the poor, look no further than Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. The Courier-Journal reported on Tuesday that if Bevin isn’t able to successfully force his constituents to work for their Medicaid, he will instead just reverse the state’s Medicaid expansion, meaning that some 480,000 people could lose their healthcare.

After Donald Trump’s announcement last week that he would allow states to impose work requirements for Medicaid, Bevin was the first in line to get his waiver approved; that request was granted on Friday. Under Bevin’s plan, “able-bodied” adults receiving Medicaid in Kentucky will have to prove that they are working or volunteering 80 hours per month. If not, they could be “locked out” of coverage for six months.


Advocates are considering challenging the new work requirements in court. But if his plan is found illegal, Bevin says he’ll just simply shut down the Medicaid expansion instead. According to the Courier-Journal, Bevin filed an executive order that “directs the secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Medicaid commissioner to ‘take necessary steps to terminate Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion’ if any part of his plan is struck down in court and all appeals are exhausted.”

Bevin’s threat is the behavior of a petulant child. Unfortunately, this child also controls the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.