“Shooting yourself in the foot”; “Biting off your nose to spite your face”; “Oh no Boo Boo what is you doing?” Pick any one of these phrases and it would describe the voters in Kentucky. And I am not picking on Kentuckians just for the sake of it. I am picking on them because my fear is that this state has become a metaphor reflecting the state of American affairs for now and into the foreseeable future. A place where the majority of people are voting against their own best interests rather than face their own support of systemic racism and inner softcore prejudices.
In the last few years, people in Kentucky made a whooper of a bad choice by when they choose their Governor. And they made this choice for no other reason than they hate the “face” of the better choice. Let’s look at the footage, shall we?
We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Medicaid
In 2014 Kentuckians voted out the incumbent Democratic Governor Beshears in favor of Republican Matt Bevins. In his last years before being outed Beshears supported the Affordable Care Act and expanded Medicaid. This resulted in an estimated 420,000 Kentuckians, nearly 10 percent of the state’s population, were able to obtain coverage. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/us/republican-wins-governors-race-in-kentucky.html
Matt Bevins was able to win the governorship on a platform of dismantling Medicaid, among other things. His 2016 proposal to cut Medicaid would have affected 1.3 million Kentuckians. The changes were specifically designed to affect those approximately 420,000 people who had just managed to get Medicaid, the working poor, or people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Wanna hear what the changes were, okay here it go:
- “small” monthly premiums (Medicaid doesn’t typically charge premiums because it is designed for those who can barely afford to eat and pay rent at the same time)
- a temporary “lockout” of coverage for some who don’t pay
- a work requirement for some “able-bodied” adults
- eliminate dental and vision coverage now included in Medicaid, though individuals could use a “My Rewards” account to pay for such coverage by earning credit for activities such as taking a financial literacy course or a health assessment.
Needless to say the proposal didn’t go over well. But instead of re working the plan Bevins and his administration are stubbornly sticking to their guns. The newest proposals according to state estimates, would cause an additional 9,000 Kentuckians to lose Medicaid insurance. That’s in addition to the approximately 90,000 people that are predicted to lose coverage under Bevin’s original waiver.
That’s Why Yo Mama is On Welfare
Matt Bevins has publicly decried the rise of “the welfare state.” But as of May 2017, Kentucky was one of ten states that had more people receiving public benefits than were employed.
As of 2013, 17.4 % of Kentuckians were receiving food stamps, compare that to Oregon’s rate of 19.8% the highest and Wyoming’s 5.9% being the lowest. Pretty high Kentucky, looks like you need it and you use it. Kentucky was ranked 48 out of 50 in terms of states who were food insecure at some point between 2012 and 2013. That means that they were HELLA insecure, only two steps away from being THE MOST food insecure state in America.
Here are some more “fun” statistics about Kentucky.
In 2015, 19.1 % of adults were living at or below the federal poverty level
25.8 % of children were living below the poverty level. That is a quarter of all the children living in Kentucky living BELOW the poverty level!!!
But It Isn’t Obama So It Must Be Good
What is truly astounding is how disconnected Kentuckians are from reality. Rather than seeking an even basic understanding of the connected relationship between the expansion of Medicaid and so called Obamacare, they chose to just hate on anything with Obama’s name attached. However they fundamentally failed to realize that it was because of Obamacare that over 420,000 Kentuckians were able to get healthcare when they couldn’t before. The Medicaid expansion in Kentucky was implemented as a program called KYnect. Voters simultaneously liked and supported Kynect while opposing Obamacare!!
So let’s do the “math”. What do you get if a program provides much needed benefits PLUS is generally liked and supported by the population under one name BUT that same population then votes for Governor whose platform is the dismantling of the beneficial program but is called by the balck man’s name? YOU GET RACISM PEOPLE…RACISM with a healthy dose of LATENT UNRECOGNIZED PREJUDICE!