Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin ran for office promising to roll back the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare in Kentucky.
Bevin never actually did that because doing so would mean kicking over 400,000 people (many of whom voted for him) off their coverage, bringing economic ruin to the state, but he is cooking up a plan than will make life significantly more complicated and embarrassing for people on Medicaid.
Bevin's administration will soon ask for federal approval for a plan that locks dental and vision coverage behind a "rewards points" program.
Kentucky is moving closer to an overhaul of the state's Medicaid program Bevin has said is aimed at controlling costs and encouraging more personal responsibility in consumers, changes that include elimination of basic dental and vision benefits for most "able-bodied" adults who instead would have to earn them through a "rewards" program. [...]
Proposed changes include monthly premiums, co-payments for services, mandatory work or volunteer activity to maintain Medicaid coverage and "lock-outs" of coverage for up to six months for some who fail to pay premiums. The state proposal also includes a "My Rewards" account where people can accumulate points for activities such as passing a GED exam, completing job training or completing wellness activities such as stop-smoking classes, points that go toward the purchase of services such as dental or vision care.
But Medicaid members also would have points deducted from their rewards account for infractions such as failing to pay premiums or "inappropriate" use of emergency rooms up to a negative balance of $150.
This seems like a terrible idea even at face value, but it becomes much worse when you break it down and think about it.
Even if you're someone who believes Medicaid is too generous for people who already have nothing, this is an unnecessarily complicated expansion of big government micro-management. A whole new state department will have to be created to manage Bevin's psychotic rewards points program. And this will create new headaches for providers who may not be sure if their patients have the rewards points necessary for any given procedure even if they're covered by Medicaid. New systems will have to be developed for tracking and relaying that information to providers.
Even if you're someone who's concerned about the costs of providing healthcare, you should know that this may not save the state much if any money at all. The federal government still covers 95 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion even though Trump sits in the oval office because, try as they might, Republicans in Congress have not managed to repeal Obamacare. What the federal government will not cover is the cost of Bevin's new sociopathic rewards points program.
This is not an economic decision as Matt Bevin would like you to believe. This is him and his fellow Republicans legislating their own sense of morality and human worth. Or lack of human worth, I should say. This is social engineering. Bevin wants to treat his own constituents like numbers on a spreadsheet that will determine whether they've won the dental lottery.
The Department of Health and Human Services under President Obama would never approve of social engineering like this, but Trump's health department under Secretary Tom Price? They probably will.
We live in the wealthiest nation in the world but we're asking people to bank rewards points for basic dental coverage like you would a goddamn sub sandwich or gasoline.