About 125 people attended a public hearing in Bowling Green on June 28 to get an overview and offer comments on Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program.
Vickie Yates Glisson is secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. At the public hearing, she said one of the major proposed changes is that instead of copays for medical services, those on Medicaid will pay a small monthly premium. Glisson said the proposal also seeks to include services that address Kentucky’s most critical health issues.
“Cardiovascular health, we have the fourth highest in the nation in heart disease. We have the highest rate of cancers, so we’re addressing lung cancer, smoking cessation, slash lung cancer. We have an out of control drug abuse problem.”
Some at the hearing expressed concern that even a small monthly premium would be barrier to health care for low-income residents.
Another area of concern that some expressed is that dental and vision care are not included in the basic health care plan.
Michael Farmer came from Fordsville in Ohio County to express his concerns about the governor’s proposal.
“Eye exams, dental, those are the things that tend to cost more. And this new program he’s looking to bring in, dental and eye exams, that gets taken out, which is going to put a lot of people in a bad situation.”
Farmer said he’s disabled and got a vision exam recently, but he hadn’t had one in four years because he just couldn’t afford it.
Glisson said that under the proposed changes, Medicaid recipients could earn credits to pay for medical treatments not covered by the revised health plan. Those credits could be earned by getting a health assessment, or through a job or volunteer work.
A second public hearing on the proposed Medicaid changes will be held in Frankfort on July 29 and a third one in Hazard on July 6.
Comments can be submitted by mail or online until July 22. Information on the proposed changes and a link to send comments by email can be found here.