Andy Beshear Abolishes Medicaid Work Requirements

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky’s almost two-year experiment with Medicaid work requirements is now over. 

Gov. Andy Beshear signed an Executive Order on Monday rescinding the 1115 Medicaid waiver known as Kentucky HEALTH.

Beshear said this waiver would have cost the state up to $270 million dollars. 

“My faith teaches me that rescinding this waiver is not only the right thing to do it is the moral faith driven thing to do,” Beshear said. “I believe health care is a basic human right and that everybody should be able to take their parents or their kids to a doctor when they are sick. As long as I am governor I will fight for better health care coverage for all of our Kentucky families.” 

Beshear also withdrew Kentucky from the federal lawsuits defending work requirements for certain Medicaid recipients. 

Matt Bevin’s Administration estimated around 95,000 Kentuckians could have lost their health insurance as a result of the work requirements. 

Health care advocates praised the action. 

“Health care is not a luxury, it is not a commodity, it is a god given right. People who do not feel well, have the right to feel well,” said Kristen Arant, who is covered under Medicaid expansion. “No, we should not have to choose whether we are going to eat today, or our child is going to eat today or we’re going to get out medication from the pharmacy–that is not okay.” 

“This is a huge victory for consumer health advocates and the thousands of Kentuckians who raised their voices to oppose harmful barriers to care,” said Emily Beauregard, executive director for Kentucky Voices for Health. “More than 400,000 Kentuckians can breathe easier today, knowing that they won’t be at risk of losing access to the health care services they need to maintain their health, can go to work without worrying about an illness or injury, and can take care of their families.” 

Kentucky’s waiver was first approved in Januay 2018 but has been held up in federal court.