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Bill aims to move more people off assistance, into workforce

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Posted at 10:08 AM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 10:08:54-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky House Republican leaders introduced legislation Monday aimed at shifting more people off public assistance and into the workforce.

The measure, designated a top priority as House Bill 1, takes aim at a long-running problem — the state’s low workforce participation rate, House leaders said.

“If we can help people get back on their feet and get out in the workforce, that’s going to benefit everyone,” Speaker Pro Tem David Meade told reporters.

The bill seeks to resolve situations that discourage some people from working longer hours or getting better-paying jobs because they can then lose public benefits.

Part of the measure focuses on reliance on Medicaid.

It calls for the state to seek a federal waiver so Medicaid-eligible people can be covered by their employer’s health insurance plan instead. The state would pay that person’s share of premiums. If the employer doesn’t offer health insurance, the person would obtain coverage through the federal marketplace. The state would pick up the premium costs for one year.

“No one should have to make that choice, whether they’re going to provide insurance and security for their families or go out and make more money,” Meade said.

House Speaker David Osborne predicted the bill will move briskly in the House.