Kentucky has become the latest state to announce it's expanding the Medicaid program under the health reform law. Kentucky's decision makes it the 21st state to expand Medicaid.
Gov. Steve Beshear said on Thursday that with the expansion, Kentucky will almost cut in half that state's uninsured population, making it "the single most important decision in our lifetime," Reuters reported.
Expanding Medicaid also will likely add 17,000 jobs and more than $15.6 billion to the state's economy in the next six years, Beshear said, citing a study by the University of Louisville and Price Waterhouse Coopers, according to a statement.
"We have now done the exhaustive research--and our conclusion matched what most other states have found: by expanding Medicaid, Kentucky will come out ahead in terms of both health outcomes and finances," Beshear said in the statement. "In fact, if we don't expand Medicaid, we will lose money."
The decision will provide insurance to more than 300,000 of the 640,000 uninsured consumers in Kentucky, who will be covered through managed care companies that already operate in the state, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
In his announcement, Beshear also addressed those who oppose Medicaid expansion, saying they "express vague and broad anxieties about costs, fears which the facts refute, and they fall back on partisan politics."