Stop the attack on Medicaid and SNAP: NO on HB 7

Kentucky Equal Justice Center

HB 7 slashes the safety net just when we saw we needed it

The pandemic showed we need a safety net that works efficiently, treats people with respect and provides real help. That means straightforward rules, user-friendly programs, adequate staffing and modern technology. It means answering the phones. Sadly, a bill now moving in Frankfort ignores the lessons of the pandemic and the recovery.

House Bill 7 would add red tape, barriers, and penalties to safety net programs that connect people with health care and keep food on the table. Key provisions could see thousands of people lose Medicaid or food assistance, or never make it past new roadblocks to aid in the first place. Among them:

  • Ban on temporary Medicaid: HB 7 would bar Kentucky’s Medicaid agency from making available simplified, temporary coverage, an approach called presumptive eligibility or “PE.” PE helped thousands when the pandemic hit and shrank dramatically as it eased. Next time, our hands would be tied.

  • Bureaucratic burden: HB 7 would end simplified reporting of changes for SNAP—an approach embraced by nearly every state—in favor of reporting almost every change as it happens. It would tie up families and state workers in a flood of paperwork for over half a million cases. Especially hard hit: part-time workers with fluctuating schedules and income.  

  • Attack on savings: HB 7 would cut food assistance and further impoverish families by bringing back “asset tests” that require them not just to have low income but to be all but destitute to keep food on the table. Families couldn’t get SNAP until their assets fell below. $2,500 (or $3,750 for a senior or person with a disability).

  • Loss of SNAP after three months: Federal law limits SNAP for adults without children or disabilities to just 3 months in three years—unless they report work activity. But federal law also allows states to set aside the time limit for areas with higher unemployment. HB 7 says Kentucky could never set it aside, a heartbreaking result for many rural counties..

HB 7 also includes a spending trigger that would allow Kentucky to pursue a Medicaid plan like Governor Bevin’s all over again, inviting costly litigation.  

See our letter of concern to state Senators.  Help us defend the safety net. Email your state representatives now!

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Lexington, Kentucky