Sunday, August 16, 2020

Ky. campaigning in seven counties to get more of Black and Hispanic populations, hard-hit by covid-19, on Medicaid

Kentucky is launching a "1-2-3 No Cost to Me" campaign to get more Black and Hispanic residents enrolled in health coverage, Deborah Yetter reports for the Louisville Courier Journal. 

Image from Diversity Nursing Blog
The campaign aims to reduce racial disparities in health by adding eligible people to Medicaid, the federal-state plan for low-income or disabled people.

"We're very excited about this campaign," said Jackie Richardson, chief of staff for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said at Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher's Aug. 11 press briefing. "We know that African Americans fall lowest when it comes to health outcomes, and this pandemic is no different." 

Fischer said the coverage could help ease some of the racial disparities highlighted by covid-19. In the Louisville area, 23% of residents are Black but account for about 27% of deaths from the disease, Yetter notes. 

Statewide, as of Aug. 15, Hispanics accounted for 13% of coronavirus cases though they are only 6% of the population. Black residents comprise about 8.5% of the population, but account for 14% of deaths and about 12% of cases.

"Early in the pandemic, when it appeared Black residents were suffering disproportionate rates of death and infection from the coronavirus, Gov. Andy Beshear pledged to try to expand health coverage for residents of color," Yetter notes.

The campaign, launched Friday, will focus on seven counties with the highest concentrations of minority residents: Jefferson, Fayette, Campbell, Christian, Madison, McCracken and Warren. Individuals must be legal residents to qualify for Medicaid, Yetter reports.

The campaign will include public-service advertisements and radio and television ads, billboards, bus stop ads, social-media ads, and notices in Black and Spanish-language newspapers. 

An estimated 20,000 Black and 34,000 Hispanic state residents lack health coverage, Health Secretary Eric Friedlander told Yetter.

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