Politics

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jamie Comer says he wants Kentuckians off Medicaid and onto private insurance.

At a press conference on Monday, the state agriculture commissioner said if he became governor he would work to decrease the number of people on Medicaid by changing the eligibility requirements in the state.

He also called for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

About 400,000 Kentuckians have signed up for Medicaid coverage since eligibility was expanded in 2013. About 25 percent of Kentuckians are now eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Comer endorsed a report released Monday by State Auditor Adam Edelen, a Democrat, which showed that a majority of Kentucky’s rural hospitals are suffering financially.

Edelen said that the growing number of Kentuckians on Medicaid has burdened rural hospitals. Fewer patients are using private insurance, which typically provide hospitals with larger reimbursements.

Comer’s healthcare platform also argued for implementing medical review panels, removing Medicaid from the oversight of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and increasing household income to combat the state’s poor health statistics.

Comer will release planks on the economy, reducing the size of government and education in coming weeks.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.