Health

The secretary of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services said officials will be making some changes to Gov. Matt Bevin’s Medicaid proposal.

Vickie Yates Brown Glisson told the state Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee on Wednesday that officials are still reviewing the public comments submitted on the proposal. She said the comments were “thoughtful and very helpful.”

She did not detail what the changes might be.

In an emailed statement to WFPL early Wednesday evening, executive director of communications for the Cabinet, Jean West, confirmed that some changes had already been made.

“I can tell you that there have been revisions and adjustments made to the original proposal, after reviewing feedback from the public comment period,” West said. “At this point, we aren’t comfortable saying exactly what they are until we actually submit the waiver. That should be soon, and we can give you more information then.”

Bevin’s original proposal would charge small premiums to able-bodied adults, and it would require them to have a job or volunteer for a charity in order to keep their benefits. The plan would require most beneficiaries to pay premiums ranging between $1 and $15 per month and lock out those who don’t pay.

Susan Zepeda with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky said too many questions remain regarding how the premiums would be collected.

“It’s not so much questioning whether they ought to pay a dollar, but the logistics,” she said. “Are these folks with a permanent address, a bank account, a cell phone? How does one collect a dollar a month without it costing more than a dollar a month to do that?”

Zepeda says there are pieces of the proposal that could be positives for Kentucky. Medicaid plans would merge drug formularies so all plans would offer the same prescription coverage. It would also streamline the process by which doctors apply to join a network. Currently, doctors must go through a lengthy process to accept and be paid for seeing Medicaid patients.

“They may not have as robust a network as they would have if qualified physicians were able to be credentialed through a more routine process,” said Zepeda.

In an emailed statement, Kenny Colston, communications director for the left-leaning Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said he’s hopeful Bevin will scrap his current proposal and write a new one.

“We hope the administration went completely back to the drawing board after the many comments they received showing how their plan would move Kentucky backwards on the important health progress we are making,” said Colston.

Kentucky was one of 32 states that expanded its Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act. More than 400,000 people were covered under the expanded program, which Bevin says is too large for the state to afford.

This story has been updated.