Beshear Still Weighing Medicaid Expansion; Will Make Decision Early Next Year

Gov. Steve Beshear says he’ll make a decision about Medicaid expansion in Kentucky by early next year.

While many states are still deciding on the early elements of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — Kentucky has only one decision left: whether to opt in to Medicaid expansion.

Under the health care law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of costs for three years if states expand their Medicaid rolls to 138 percent of the poverty line.

Beshear says he’ll decide which Kentucky will do in time for the state to be ready for the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline if it decides to opt in.

“And so I’ll need to make that decision sometime in the first four or five months of next year,” he says.

Beshear says he’s weighing whether the state can afford expansion after the federal government reduces its funding to 90 percent after three years.

“And we’re just looking at every factor that’s gonna affect us over the next five or six years, but I think I owe it to the taxpayer’s of the state to do that,” he says.

After three years, the federal government will fund only 90 percent of costs, but studies have shown Kentucky will actually save money with expansion. 

Still,  many Kentucky Republicans are calling on the governor to reject the expansion, because they doubt the state can afford the expansion once the federal government stops paying 100 percent of the costs. 

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