Benefit cuts announced following Kentucky Medicaid ruling

Ky. governor cancels Medicaid dental, vision benefits after losing work requirement ruling | TheHill

Ky. governor cancels Medicaid dental, vision benefits after losing work requirement ruling | TheHill

Critics of the Bevin administration are crying foul after a decision by the state to disrupt dental and vision benefits that certain Medicaid recipients would have received as part of the state's now-halted Kentucky HEALTH program.

The cancellation of dental and vision coverage for nearly 500,000 enrollees in the state's Medicaid expansion is an "an unfortunate outcome of the judge's ruling", Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Much of the Kentucky HEALTH program, also known as the state's 1115 Medicaid waiver, had been scheduled to go into effect July 1, but a judge ruled Friday afternoon that significant omissions had been made in the program's federal approval and that further review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is warranted.

The state's health and family services cabinet on Monday said Bevin's administration is "working through the impacts".

"We are concerned about rash decisions made in response to the court ruling", said state Rep. Joni Jenkins.

"We call for thoughtful discussions involving the administration and the many statewide stakeholders in the path forward in assuring Kentucky's working families have health care", Jenkins said. "Once we ultimately prevail in this legal challenge ... then beneficiaries will have access to these optional services".

Jenkins said the "short-sighted" Republican actions are already causing confusion and hardships. Boasberg's ruling blocks those requirements for now in Kentucky. "And that's just unacceptable for government to be operating this way".

The federal health care law championed by former President Barack Obama gave states the option of expanding Medicaid coverage to able-bodied adults.

Democrats denounced the move and said they did not think Bevin had the legal authority to cancel the benefits.

In his ruling, the judge chastised Trump's administration for rubber-stamping the new rules without considering how many people would lose their health coverage.

"When Kentucky HEALTH was struck down by the court, the 'My Rewards Account program was invalidated, meaning there is no longer a legal mechanism in place to pay for dental and vision coverage for about 460,000 beneficiaries who have been placed in the Alternative Benefit Plan", Hogan wrote in an email.