The original deadline was July 22. Officials said they reopened the comment period to assure that the “numerous comments” that came in afterward could be considered.
“Thirty percent of the comments came on the last day, and we received comments after the deadline,” Jean West, Cabinet for Health and Family Services communications director, said in an e-mail. “This extended comment period will allow us to accept the comments that came in after the deadline, and allow any others who had intended to submit comments to do so.”
The proposed changes were largely met with criticism by health advocates and individuals alike at the three public hearings, a KeepKYCovered news conference, and a House Task Force on Vulnerable Kentuckians meeting. Complaints centered around the complexity of the plan and the barriers critics say it would create, including: monthly premiums, the loss of dental and vision care from basic coverage, and work-oriented requirements. Click here and here for stories about the hearings.
Bevin has said the state can’t afford to have more than one-third of its population on Medicaid and that the plan targets “able-bodied adults.” Most of these “able-bodied adults” to whom he refers have gained Medicaid coverage through expansion of eligibility to households with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, under federal health reform. The state has about 1.3 million people on Medicaid, with about 440,000 qualifying through the expansion. The federal government is paying their full cost through this year; next year the state will pay 5 percent, rising in annual steps to the law’s limit of 10 percent in 2020.
Kenny Colston, communications director for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, told Deborah Yetter of The Courier-Journal that his organization was pleased about the extended comment period, but wished there had been more notice.
“More public comment is needed on a proposal that puts at risk so much of the gains we have made in the last couple of years,” Colston told Yetter. “But it’s unfortunate the administration reopened public comment without alerting the public or the press before doing so.”
The official notice was posted Friday, Aug. 5. West told Yetter that cabinet officials have not yet decided when to submit the revised waiver to the federal government.
Written comments regarding the proposed Medicaid changes can be mailed to
Commissioner Stephen Miller, Department for Medicaid Services, 275 E. Main Street, Frankfort,
KY 40621. Comments may also be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.