In a letter sent today to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the House Democratic Caucus called on Secretary Adam Meier to offer a more detailed explanation about recent actions that removed three key health benefits for 460,000 Kentuckians enrolled in Medicaid.
The letter, which was signed by all 37 House Democrats, was initiated by state Representatives Joni Jenkins and McKenzie Cantrell of Louisville. It follows the administration’s June 30th decision to remove dental, vision and non-emergency transportation benefits for those enrolled as part of the Medicaid expansion.
That action, made with no prior notice, came a day after a federal judge blocked enactment of the state’s new Medicaid waiver because it would have significantly reduced coverage for those otherwise eligible.
“The Cabinet’s decision, as authorized by Governor Bevin, has unnecessarily thrown low-income working families into chaos and confusion,” Rep. Jenkins said. “No one – not recipients, nor providers, nor managed care organizers – knows the rules of Kentucky’s expanded Medicaid program. We want this administration to comply with the court ruling by maintaining the previous level of coverage. Future decisions should be in line with state and federal regulations and timelines and should involve statewide stakeholders.”
Rep. Cantrell added: “Since the Court ordered that the status quo of Medicaid be maintained, it is important to learn more about the process the Cabinet used to enact these changes and the justifications for announcing them at this time. It is very important to the families that I serve who are affected by these Medicaid cuts that we receive as much information as possible, because the vision and dental cuts were very unexpected changes that will have significant health impacts on our community.”
The letter, which is attached, asks Secretary Meier about the process used to remove benefits; how the new benefit structure is affecting recipients and providers; the expected impact of removing dental and vision benefits; and how premiums already collected will be returned.