Gov. Steve Beshear announced in October the elimination of all KCHIP premiums. Previously, families whose income was over 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level paid a $20 monthly premium.
Beshear said the premiums served as a deterrent to enrollment and caused some kids to drop out of the program due to costs. By suspending the premium, approximately 12,200 families will no longer pay the $20 per month.
But is this the best solution?
It’s one thing if families truly cannot pay the premium. But implementing a blanket policy eliminating the small premium for all 12,200 families without even considering the ability to possibly pay appears more like pandering for re-election votes than sound public policy.
Do the math. Eliminating premiums saves the combined enrolled families $244,000 a month and close to $3 million a year. But what they save, someone else has to pay.
Suspending premiums means taxpayers will have to pump more of their own money into the Medicaid program. It’s only fair that those receiving benefits help carry part of the load, if possible, especially during tough economic times.