LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth and others delivered a letter to Governor Matt Bevin Tuesday asking him to go back on a campaign promise.
The Representative from Kentucky’s 3rd District said he delivered the letter hoping Governor Bevin will withdraw his 1115 waiver filed with the Federal Government to alter the current Medicaid expansion program.
Bevin has argued that The Commonwealth cannot afford the current program put in place by his predecessor Governor Steve Beshear. Bevin promised voters that he would change the program during his campaign in 2015. After winning his election, Governor Bevin said that the Feds would need to accept his plan to change the program or he would end it all together. Ending the program, opponents argue, would take healthcare insurance away from hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.
“If we accept the conditions of this, and throw up those additional barriers, we’re gonna have hell to pay! Do you hear me? We are going to have hell to pay! People are going to die”, exclaimed Kelly Gunning, a concerned mother and grandmother.
Gunning, Congressman Yarmuth, state and church leaders stood in the Rotunda pointing to recent denials of portions of other state’s waiver applications as proof that Governor Bevin’s waiver won’t be approved. Some aspects of similar waivers have been denied.
Governor Bevin was out of town at a ribbon cutting in Danville but his office released a statement claiming that this event was nothing more than “playing politics” with three weeks until the election.
Congressman Yarmuth fielded a question about motive in the Bevin administration and whether he thought the governor’s request was in good faith.
“I believe some in the administration actually sincerely believed that there would be an approval of the waiver”, said Rep. Yarmuth. “I think there were some who did, I don’t think everybody did, I think there were some people who were aware that the odds were remote if at all. “But, again, it’s not going to be approved and he now has a decision to make that is going to impact 10 percent or more of Kentucky’s population.”
The Governor has argued that Kentucky simply cannot afford to keep the program in place as it was designed by former Governor Steve Beshear. Congressman Yarmuth doesn’t buy Governor Bevin’s math and argues that the expansion as it stands today would not financially break Kentucky.
Governor Bevin's press secretary Amanda Stamper released this statement:
“While Congressman Yarmuth plays politics three weeks before an election, Gov. Bevin and his team have spent several months developing a transformative and financially sustainable Medicaid plan that will actually improve health outcomes for Kentuckians and encourage self-sufficiency. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has full authority to approve everything in Kentucky Health.
"Gov. Bevin remains committed to working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as long as it takes to transform Kentucky’s Medicaid program to achieve these vital goals.”