Kentuckians Do Not Support Proposed Changes to Medicaid
Two out of three registered voters in Kentucky say Medicaid should be left as is instead of scaled back under a plan to cover fewer people. By a similar margin, registered voters oppose six-month “lockouts” from coverage for failing to report income on time.

“Kentuckians spoke up about their concerns in record numbers during the public comment periods on the plan,” said Rich Seckel, director of Kentucky Equal Justice Center. “The poll results show the concerns are widely shared across the state.”
In 2016, the Bevin administration filed an 1115 Medicaid waiver proposal, asking permission to change Kentucky’s Medicaid plan and reduce the number of people who receive benefits. An amendment to the plan filed in summer 2017 contained a “lockout” penalty of six months for participants who did not report income changes within 10 days.

The Mason-Dixon poll results come as the Governor’s plan, titled Kentucky HEALTH, may be nearing approval by federal officials. Mason-Dixon Polling & Research talked by telephone with 625 registered Kentucky voters from December 13 to December 18, 2017. The firm asked voters if they felt the Medicaid program in Kentucky should be scaled back to cover fewer people or left as is. 66% of voters supported leaving Medicaid as is while only 20% felt it should be scaled back. 14% were not sure.

Poll results were broken down by region, age, sex and party registration. Registered voters in each region of the state felt Medicaid should be left as is instead of scaled back. A majority of both men (61%) and women (70%) supported leaving Medicaid as is, as did majorities of registered Democrats (76%), Republicans (53%) and independents (60%). The age group sometimes labeled “young invincibles,” age 18-34, showed the strongest support for keeping Medicaid as it is (70%).

“The results suggest Kentuckians are concerned not just about themselves but about family, friends, neighbors and co-workers,” said Dustin Pugel of Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. “People understand that healthcare is a foundation for well-being, education and work.”

The Governor’s plan also includes a provision to cut off health coverage for six months for people who fail to report changes in income within 10 days. Statewide, two of three (65%) of respondents opposed the penalty, including just over half of Republican voters (51%) and larger majorities of independents (58%) and Democrats (77%)

“These results are a strong statement. The policy changes being proposed simply do not align with public sentiment or the realities that low-income Kentuckians face,” adds Dr. Sheila Schuster, Executive Director of the Advocacy Action Network.

“Kentuckians strongly reject the notion that Medicaid members should be penalized harshly if they can’t keep up with confusing and complicated new rules,” says Emily Beauregard, Executive Director of Kentucky Voices for Health. Beauregard added, “Medicaid is a hand-up for low-income Kentuckians, not a hand out. When the majority of Medicaid expansion members are already working, serving as caregivers, or students working toward degrees, lock-out periods do nothing to improve health or economic well being. In fact, it can do the exact opposite.”

“People understand the difference between bureaucracy and opportunity,” Seckel said. “The results suggest people saw the plan as creating barriers to health care.”

Kentucky Equal Justice Center commissioned the two questions on the Governor’s plan for Medicaid. The full survey report on the Medicaid questions and a description of the survey methodology can be found here.

Misclassification of employees as independent contractors hurts workers, businesses and taxpayers

Paper highlights problem in Kentucky and recommends action
Employers who improperly classify full-time employees as independent contractors are harming workers by denying them important legal protections, gaining an unfair competitive advantage over employers who follow the rules and costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year in lost revenue. Kentucky could benefit greatly by taking a few simple actions to better document misclassification, improve compliance with state law and target employers who repeatedly misclassify their employees. These findings are included in Cheating the System: How improperly classifying employees as independent contractors hurts workers, businesses and taxpayers, an issue brief released April 2, 2012, by the Kentucky Equal Justice Center.

Download a full copy of the issue brief here:

Cheating the System