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Kentucky Governor Pledges Health Coverage to All Black Residents

June 8, 2020, 10:28 PM

Offering few specifics, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said his administration is committed to ensuring that 100% of the state’s black residents have health insurance.

State statistics released Monday indicate black Kentuckians account for 16.5% of Kentucky’s coronavirus deaths but make up just 8.4% of the state’s population, according to Census data.

“Every single individual in our African-American communities is to have a form of health-care coverage,” Beshear (D) said. “We’re going to put money into it, we’re going to put people into it, we’re going to make sure the community anchors are part of it.”

The plan is to use state-paid “health insurance connectors” that will reach out to black residents and help them apply for insurance. Coverage could be obtained through Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion, private plans, or federal plans for which the individuals apply.

A similar strategy was used to sign up residents when the Affordable Care Act was launched.

The connectors will work until every single black Kentuckian has coverage, Beshear said.

Beshear didn’t immediately comment on how he would provide coverage to people who don’t currently qualify for expanded Medicaid and don’t have insurance through their employer.

He also didn’t comment on how the state would defend against a lawsuit should someone allege the action is illegal race-based discrimination.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ebert in Columbus, Ohio at aebert@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com

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