Kentucky's Medicaid program will expand to cover hundreds of thousands of additional people, Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday.
The program already provides medical coverage to some 800,000 low-income residents. The Affordable Care Act allows states to expand coverage to some 308,000 additional Kentuckians with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or nearly $15,860 for individuals.
"I have repeatedly said that I believe it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth and its citizens to provide better access to health care for our people" Beshear said. "My only concern was the cost. We have now done the exhaustive research and our conclusion matched what most others states have found: by expanding Medicaid, Kentucky will come out ahead in terms of both health outcomes and finances. In fact, if we don't expand Medicaid, we will lose money."
The expected move drew praise and criticism even before Beshear made the announcement during an afternoon news conference.