Governor Steve Beshear announced today that Kentucky will become the 21st state to join the Obamacare plan to expand Medicaid.
The program already provides medical coverage to some 800,000 low-income residents. The Affordable Care Act allows Kentucky to expand coverage to an estimated 300,000 additional people.
The expected move drew praise and criticism even before Beshear made the announcement during an afternoon news conference. AARP Kentucky says expanded Medicaid coverage can make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people. A Tea Party activist predicted the move will result in additional government waste.
Expanded Medicaid will be available starting January 1st, and uninsured people can start signing up this fall.
Washington will pick up the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years, and 90 percent over the longer haul. It's estimated that less than $100 billion in state spending could trigger nearly $1 trillion in federal dollars over a decade.