Income

Kentucky and Oregon revive little-used ACA provision to help low-income residents

The Basic Health Program was included in the ACA pass, but only Minnesota and New York took advantage of it. (Photo: Chris Nicholls)

The leaders of two states with very different policies agree on at least one thing: expanding an Obama-era Affordable Care Act policy will make health care more affordable for low-income residents. of their states.

According to Politico, “Oregon and Kentucky…continue an Obama-era policy that uses federal dollars to establish a health insurance plan for people who earn too much money to qualify for their country’s Medicaid programs. State. The goal is to provide residents who find Obamacare plans too expensive with a cheaper option, while smoothing out insurance gaps for people on the verge of Medicaid eligibility.

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Oregon Democrats passed a bill last month to establish the program and created a task to oversee the details. Meanwhile, Republicans in Kentucky passed $4.5 million in public funding to set up the program; Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, signed it into law.

Politico reports that “approximately 85,000 Oregonians and at least 37,000 Kentucky residents will be eligible to enroll in the plans as early as next year.”

These measures suggest that at least some states do not expect the Biden administration to keep its promise to expand health care.

“Because the federal government has failed in so many ways to provide access to health care for Americans, Oregon is stepping in,” said Jonathan Frochtzwajg, head of public policy and grants at the Cascade AIDS Project and one of the members of the Oregon task force. Policy. “Congress, and especially the Senate, is broken, and the states need to make up for it.”

“Kentucky isn’t known for great health indicators, and we’re doing our best to really close some of the gaps and barriers in the system,” added Kentucky Rep. Kim Moser, a Republican who chairs the House. Health and Family Services. Committee and a registered nurse. “We know this is the group of people who go in and out of health coverage.”

The program that both states invoked is known as the Basic Health Program and was included in the Affordable Care Act. But only Minnesota and New York benefited, according to Politico. Given the current state of health care, however, other states may follow. A West Virginia Republican is reportedly working on a bill similar to those in Kentucky and Oregon.

“We were a bit surprised, if you go back to the early days of the Affordable Care Act, that only one other state had a basic health plan in place from the start,” Chuck Johnson, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, says Politico. “For us, it was sort of obvious.”