FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – On Wednesday, Governor Matt Bevin announced plans to develop a “transformative” Medicaid program by the middle of next year at a press conference in Frankfort.
Governor Bevin has enlisted Mark D. Birdwhistell, a former Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, to assemble a group of experts to draft and evaluate a Medicaid waiver for the state. “Mark Birdwhistell is one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the country on this issue,” says Governor Bevin. “With his expertise, we are going to develop a viable solution that is tailored for Kentucky’s needs.”
Governor Bevin targets implementing the Medicaid overhaul plan for 2017. In the meantime, the 400,000 Kentuckians who received coverage under the expansion will keep it until a new plan is approved by the federal government.
Bevin ran on a platform that promised to dismantle the Medicaid program established by former Governor Steve Beshear. “Our state is financially in trouble and cannot afford to continue down the current Medicaid path that we are on. We have an opportunity to develop a transformational program that improves health care outcomes, encourages personal responsibility and does both in a fiscally sustainable manner.”
Family Services Secretary Vickie Yates Glisson was on-hand at the announcement, and says, “We need to be better stewards of our resources and use all options available to us to benefit the health and wellness of all Kentuckians.” Citing a Deloitte study from February of 2015 that forecasted job creation from expanding Medicaid, Glisson adds, “…the health care jobs predicted by the Deloitte study have not materialized, rendering the suggestion that Medicaid expansion pays for itself invalid.”
“The people of Kentucky deserve a sustainable Medicaid program that balances accountability and long-term affordability,” said Birdwhistell. “I am honored to be asked by Governor Bevin to continue my career’s work in serving the people of Kentucky by transforming Medicaid. I appreciate UK making me available to provide my expertise in this effort.”