Kentucky’s COVID-19 case count has plateaued with no clear end to the pandemic in sight and high unemployment expected to continue throughout 2021. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can act now to protect our health and economy.
Medicaid is a critical lifeline for 1.4 million Kentuckians. With Medicaid, losing a job doesn’t have to mean losing healthcare. With Medicaid, families can get the care they need without risking crippling medical debt, so they keep contributing to our economy.
But Medicaid is also at risk. Balanced budget requirements and recession-driven revenue shortfalls mean Kentucky may soon face pressure to cut Medicaid and other critical safety net programs. That would cut families’ health and economic lifeline, just as need grows. Congress can help. With support from Rep. John Yarmuth, the U.S. House already passed legislation (the HEROES Act) to protect Medicaid. Meanwhile, the Senate is taking a summer break while Kentuckians continue to lose jobs and health insurance. McConnell should stop stalling and bring the HEROES Act to the floor for a vote.
With real health and economic threats on the horizon, summer is no time for a vacation from the pandemic.
Emily Beauregard, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health, Louisville