State officials in communities all across the country wrestle with some of the same issues. The future of Medicaid is a popular topic in Kentucky and other states. Lawmakers from 15 states have been in Lexington for the Southern Legislative Conference.
Gary Howell is a representative from West Virginia. He’s proposed a plan to ease high utilization of hospital care. Howell says it includes a co-pay for non-emergency emergency room visits. “If it’s not an emergency, you’re gonna pay a little bit and that will push down to ‘well you know I don’t want to pay that so I will go to my regular doctor. That way they pay 100 percent of it,” said Howell.
In Louisiana, Representative Frank Kaufman says his state has just initiated Medicaid expansion. He says abuse and fraud within Medicaid are issues which need more oversight. But, Kaufman believes it’s not the situation in the majority of Medicaid cases.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has proposed an extensive Medicaid reform program. It includes monthly premiums and requirements for able bodied people to work or volunteer to attain benefits.