Director, Commonwealth Policy Center
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Since 2014, nearly a half-million Kentuckians joined the Medicaid rolls since the Affordable Care Act lowered the participation threshold. Today, one out of every three Kentuckians are on Medicaid, which begs the question: is it a policy achievement to have more Kentuckians dependent upon a government program that was originally designed for children and the disabled? Do more people on Medicaid actually achieve comprehensive and overall health? Even though more Kentuckians have health care coverage now than four years ago, Kentucky ranks near the bottom in far too many health categories. According to the United Health Foundation's 2017 report, Kentucky nationally ranked 42nd in overall health. Obesity (44th), inactivity (46th), diabetes (46th), smoking (49th), illicit drug use (49th) —all this reveals that there's more to personal health than just having access to a doctor and insurance.