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Ky. governor cancels Medicaid dental, vision benefits after losing work requirement ruling

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s (R) administration is canceling dental and vision benefits for thousands of people on Medicaid in the state following a judge blocking the state’s Medicaid work requirements.

The cancellation of dental and vision coverage for almost 500,000 enrollees in the state’s Medicaid expansion is “an unfortunate consequence of the judge's ruling,” Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Democrats denounced the move and said they did not think Bevin had the legal authority to cancel the benefits.

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“He said he wants to take dental and vision coverage away,” Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthDems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Top House Budget Dem warns deficits, debt must be addressed soon Budget hawk warns 'Tax Cuts 2.0.' would balloon debt MORE (D-Ky.), said Monday at a press conference. “We don't think that's legal either.”

Under Bevin’s Medicaid proposal, along with work requirements, enrollees would have had to earn dental and vision benefits through completing activities like taking classes or searching for a job.

With the proposal blocked in court, Bevin’s administration is now canceling dental and vision benefits altogether.

The court ruling on Friday was a major setback for Bevin’s proposal and for the Trump administration’s efforts to allow states to impose Medicaid work requirements more broadly.

U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Trump administration did not adequately consider the coverage losses that would result from approving the work requirements, and that omission runs counter to furthering the program’s goal of providing health insurance.

Bevin has threatened to cancel the state’s Medicaid expansion altogether if the work requirements are struck down. Friday’s ruling can be appealed, though, so the issue is not fully resolved.