Kentucky governor threatens 500,000 people’s Medicaid if court rules against work requirement

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 20:  Gov. Matt Bevin (R-Ky.) speaks at the National Rifle Association's NRA-ILA Leadership Forum during the NRA Convention at the Kentucky Exposition Center on May 20, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. The convention, which opened today, runs until May 22.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Matt Bevin

Nearly 100,000 Kentuckians could lose their Medicaid if the state puts a planned work requirement into place. But it gets worse. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s position is that if he doesn’t get to kick those 100,000 people off Medicaid, he’ll end the state’s Medicaid expansion entirely, endangering health coverage for 500,000 people. That’s Bevin’s official response to a lawsuit against the work requirement:

“Governor Bevin has made it unmistakably clear that Kentucky will withdraw from expanded Medicaid if this case ultimately succeeds in invaliding Kentucky HEALTH,” the state’s reply brief states. “In fact, he has given that conclusion the force of law.” 

Bevin has signed an executive order to that effect, though according to one of the organizations involved in the lawsuit, “It’s not like he can just snap his fingers and the expansion is done.”

Kentucky isn’t the only state backing up a move for a Medicaid requirement with the threat that if that terrible thing gets blocked, it’ll be replaced with an even more terrible thing. Because Republicans don’t want poor people to have health care.

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