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Kentucky's effort to revamp Medicaid and incentivize benefits has been struck down by a federal judge. Now, some in the news media are saying its heartless for the governor to cut dental and vision coverage in response. One story implies that children are being turned away from dentists' offices because Medicaid is being denied. Problem here is that the Kentucky HEALTH initiative only impacted adults, not children. The idea was to incentivize benefits by requiring able-bodied adults to work part-time, go to school or volunteer in their community. It also required recipients to engage in their own health outcomes, something sorely lacking in the Medicaid program. But a federal judge struck down the reform plan and also the legal mechanism to pay for it. The bottom line is that the real losers are needy Kentuckians who are seeking a path toward independence.


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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center