Dem presses HHS on Kentucky cutting dental, vision coverage for Medicaid

Dem presses HHS on Kentucky cutting dental, vision coverage for Medicaid
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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, the only Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation, is pressing the Trump administration after his state’s Republican governor abruptly cut off dental and vision coverage for thousands of Medicaid enrollees.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration announced earlier this month that it was canceling dental and vision coverage for almost 500,000 enrollees in the state’s Medicaid expansion. Kentucky officials said the move was in response to a federal judge striking down the Medicaid work requirements that Bevin has touted.


Yarmuth, though, says there was no reason to cut off the services after the court ruling, and he called it “retaliation.”

“In his haste to strip these services away from families across Kentucky, Governor Bevin gave no warning to patients or guidance to providers, resulting in chaos and reports of men, women, and children being denied access to the treatments they need – forced to walk away from appointments and scheduled procedures,” Yarmuth wrote in a letter Tuesday to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar.

Yarmuth asked Azar if Bevin has the authority to cancel the dental and vision coverage, and if HHS approved the move.

“Given that the federal government covers 94 percent of all Medicaid expansion costs in Kentucky, the dysfunction Governor Bevin has brought to this critical health care system should be of great concern to you and your agency,” Yarmuth wrote.