Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration cut dental and vision coverage for as many as 460,000 Kentuckians after his Medicaid overhaul plan was rejected in court.
The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services called the cuts an “unfortunate consequence” of Friday’s ruling by a federal judge. Democrats and advocates for the poor condemned the Republican governor’s move as rash and possibly illegal. The cuts were announced during the weekend.
U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg’s rejection of Bevin’s plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program was also a setback for President Donald Trump’s administration, which has been encouraging states to impose work requirements and other changes on the joint state and federal health insurance program for poor and disabled people. Boasberg’s ruling blocks those requirements for now in Kentucky.
Bevin’s administration squarely blamed the judge for the cuts, saying his ruling removed a “legal mechanism” to pay for dental and vision coverage for about 460,000 Medicaid beneficiaries and left officials with less than two days to undo a year and a half of planning.
“As such, they no longer have access to dental and vision coverage as a result of the court’s ruling,” the cabinet said.
Bevin spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn said the Medicaid changes had offered “a sustainable path” to provide the dental and vision benefits, but said the judge’s ruling means there’s “no longer a viable method” to provide the services.
The state’s health and family services cabinet on Monday said Bevin’s administration is “working through the impacts.”
“We hope that we can work together to quickly resolve the fallout from the court ruling” so the benefits program can be reinstated, it said.
Democratic state Rep. Joni Jenkins said she’s concerned about “rash decisions” in response to the ruling.
“We call for thoughtful discussions involving the administration and the many statewide stakeholders in the path forward in assuring Kentucky’s working families have health care,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the Bevin administration’s “short-sighted” actions are already causing confusion and hardships.
See More: ABC News