A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ben Chandler: Kentucky senate must avoid making a difficult situation worse and vote ‘NO’ on HB7

These days Kentuckians are paying more for a lot of things… gas and grocery costs are skyrocketing.

Families are carefully budgeting their expenses to make sure their paychecks stretch as far as possible. But even with sacrifices, many Kentuckians will have to make tough decisions between fuel and food… filling up or feeding their kids. Add in an unplanned trip to the doctor’s office and families could end up in crisis.

Now, a bill making its way through Frankfort stands to make things all the more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.

House Bill 7, recently passed by the Kentucky House, would institute several measures that would make it harder for Kentuckians to get – and keep – food assistance and health care coverage. It does this largely by creating added paperwork requirements for Kentuckians and administrators within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services who would be responsible for processing and validating the paperwork.

Ben Chandler

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy estimates nearly 200,000 people could lose Medicaid coverage, and tens of thousands of Kentuckians could lose Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits should HB7 pass.

While Medicaid and SNAP provide vital assistance to Kentuckians, these programs do not put cash into individuals’ pockets.

They do put money in local economies – money that goes to grocers, farmers markets, hospitals, health care providers, nursing homes, hospitals and pharmacies, among others.

In fact, Moody’s Analytics reports for every $1 spent on SNAP benefits, $1.61 is generated in economic activity.

Meantime, Medicaid adds billions of dollars in economic activity and supports job creation. Further economic ripples from Medicaid spending include purchases made by health care workers and taxes on their wages, as well as health care facilities’ contracts with local vendors, such as janitorial and restaurant services. And, $0.90 of each Medicaid dollar is paid for by Federal monies, while states pay only $0.10 of each Medicaid dollar spent.

Community Catalysts says cutting Medicaid spending forfeits federal funds, short-circuits the economic engine of Medicaid, and significantly worsens a state’s economic situation.

Even more, if 200,000 Kentuckians lose Medicaid coverage because of HB7, fewer people will be able to go to the doctor for care. That could result in lost jobs at provider offices and more patients seeking uncompensated care in high-cost emergency departments.

Kentucky was hit hard by the pandemic. While communities start to recover, now is NOT the time to go backward and remove millions of dollars from local economies and billions from the state’s overall economy. That’s what HB 7 stands to do.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky urges Kentucky Senators to vote “no” on this HB7.

Ben Chandler is president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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  1. Patrick T. Hat says:

    Disposable People Must Die, it is a thing, it is a real thing, it’s a Republican thing.
    Cruelty is the only point, any arguments suggesting otherwise, particularly that faux ‘fiscal responsibility one, are nothing but minor league obfuscation, too often not so cleverly disguised as good ol’ boy ‘aww shucks’ willful obtuseness & shameful deliberate ignorance.

  2. John Roy says:

    I don’t wish to see those truly in need lose their Snap or Medicaid benefits. As much as can’t stand government intervention Republicans are attempting to cut out fraud and in the same stroke of a pen hurt our citizens. Before this bill becomes law representatives from both sides need to sit down AND AGREE on a solution that stops waste and fraud but doesn’t cause harm to Kentucky families. This needs to be rectified not politicized.

  3. Earlene says:

    We can not make if they take away these benefits sadly to say everything has went up and I am sure they will in the future just getting extra snap benifets have helped us I wish I was able to work please don’t cut out these benefits we need them I can finely. Buy fruits. They we need and vegetables I pray the war stops and y’all don’t take away this

  4. Charlene Abner says:

    please don’t take our food stamps and extra benefits we was getting the food we needed to eat .but if you all take this away from us we want be able to buy the things we thee people of Kentucky need.and also think of the elderly and the children that will go to bed hungry each night.

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