Beshear vows to rescind Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements after claiming victory in governor's race

Beshear vows to rescind Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements after claiming victory in governor's race
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Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), who claimed victory in the Kentucky governor's race, vowed Tuesday night to rescind the state's Medicaid work requirements in his first week in office.

Beshear projected himself as the winner of the gubernatorial race on Tuesday as he led Gov. Matt Bevin (R) by a 49.2 to 48.8 percent margin, but The Associated Press had not called the race as of 11:15 p.m. 

"In my first week in office I am going to rescind this governor's Medicaid waiver," Beshear said in his speech claiming victory on Tuesday night. 

The Trump administration approved Bevin's request last year to require some Medicaid beneficiaries work as a condition for receiving benefits.

However, the requirements have not taken effect because of ongoing litigation. Under the proposal, beneficiaries who gained coverage under the state's Medicaid expansion would have to work, volunteer or go to school 20 hours a week to retain their benefits.

The issue became a key one during the race between Beshear and Bevin. 

Beshear ran on defending Medicaid expansion, which his father, former Gov. Steve Beshear (D), brought to the state in 2014, extending health care coverage to an additional 400,000 low-income adults. 

Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., expanded Medicaid to cover more low-income adults under ObamaCare. But lawmakers in Republican-led states looking to curtail rising health care spending have turned to work requirements as a way to trim Medicaid rolls. 

Bevin's proposal estimates it could reduce the Medicaid rolls by about 95,000 people and save $300 million over five years.

After his work requirements were first blocked in court last July, Bevin cut dental and vision benefits to expansion recipients. 

After facing backlash for Democrats and public health advocates, the benefits were reinstated.