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RURAL KENTUCKY RESIDENTS FEAR PROPOSED MEDICAID CUTS

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state, Kentucky, is expected to be hard hit by proposed cuts in Medicaid funding that remained in a re-tooled health care plan rolled out Thursday (July 13, 2017) by Senate Republicans.

Every day, 50-year-old Kathy Collins has to take 27 pills in her fight against the autoimmune disease, Lupus.

Collins lives in rural Kentucky with her sister, Carol Maggard. She is on a fixed income and uses Medicaid to help pay mounting health care bills.

“Last year, they were $945,000,” Collins said.

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, tried to calm fears about the future of Medicaid.

“Nothing we’ve advocated so far would cause anybody currently on Medicaid to be taken off of Medicaid,” he said.

Under Obamacare, Kentucky expanded Medicaid and cut the uninsured rate from 14 percent to almost six percent. But right now, the bill calls for significant cuts in federal funding of state Medicaid programs. To make up for the loss, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed changing the state requirements for Medicaid, which could cause people to lose coverage.

At Louisville’s Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center, 70 percent of Dr. Brent Duncan’s patients are on Medicaid.

“Folks may have to decide between a doctors visit and being able to put food on the table for their family,” Duncan said.

Collins, a Republican who voted for both McConnell and Bevin, is now truly worried about losing her coverage.

“I’m sure Mitch McConnell don’t have to worry about his medical bills,” she said. “Or Gov. Bevin’s. But real people have to.”