Tennessee, Kentucky Are Miles Apart on Medicaid
Deanna Piotrowski wound up on the wrong side of the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
She suffers from chronic conditions, cannot afford her medicine and is without health insurance. If she had settled 10 miles up the road, she would be getting Medicaid coverage.
“That’s ridiculous,” Piotrowski said. “That’s really a shame.”
Portland, Tenn., where Piotrowski lives, is not that different from Franklin, Ky., the next town up along a two-lane highway that runs past cornfields and modest homes.
Kassandra Clark says she’s lucky to live in the Kentucky town. Uncertain of prospects for health coverage at her new job, she’s grateful politicians in her state have given her a backup option.
“It shows that they care about their people, that they are there for them,” Clark said.
Kentucky has accepted federal funding from the Affordable Care Act to expand the government insurance program for the poor. Tennessee, where political opposition to “Obamacare” runs strong, has not. Kentucky is an anomaly in the South. Most Southern states have taken actionsto either block or hinder the implementation of the federal health law. Supporters of the law say it is foolhardy of politicians to refuse generous federal funding for ideological reasons, but the law’s critics say the money comes with a hefty financial hitch.