Calling health care a “basic human right,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear laid out the basic framework for his plan to provide health coverage to 100% of the state’s Black residents.
The basics are that state-subsidized “health insurance connectors” will serve as a conduit between the state’s Black communities and health insurance coverage. The connectors will help them navigate the system, figure out what they’re eligible for, and assist them applying for insurance through Medicaid expansion, private plans, or federal plans, according to The Hill.
“We are gonna begin an effort to cover 100% of our individuals in our black and African American communities. Everybody,” Beshear said. “This is just a first commitment in making up for that inequality that Dr. King said was one of the most severe, and that’s inequality in health care,” he added.
Although African Americans account for just 8.4% of the state’s population, that have made up 16.5% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.
Beshear’s plan still lacks some details, such as how his plan would provide coverage to anyone who neither qualifies for Medicaid nor employer-provided insurance.
But Beshear said the inequity simply couldn’t “be allowed to continue any longer,” adding that it shouldn’t have taken weeks of widespread demonstrations “for us to commit to ending it.”
Kentucky was one of the few red states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act passed by former president Barack Obama. Gov. Beshear’s father, Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, presided over that expansion during his tenure as the state’s governor from 2007-2015.
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