Kentucky is to cut the scope of coverage for Medicaid, eliminating dental and vision benefits for nearly half a million people in the state who rely on the government-subsidised insurance.

The cuts were announced by Republican Governor Matt Bevin’s administration after a judge dismissed his plan to reform the state’s health plan for those in need.

Calling the cuts an “unfortunate consequence” of the Friday ruling by a federal judge, the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services sent an email announcing that about 460,000 Medicaid members would be impacted by the changes to the state system — known as Kentucky HEALTH. They would be notified that their basic dental and vision benefits would end on the first of July, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“When Kentucky HEALTH was struck down by the court, the ‘My Rewards Account’ program was invalidated, meaning there is no longer a legal mechanism in place to pay for dental and vision coverage for about 46,0000 beneficiaries who have been placed in the Alternative Benefit Plan,” that email said.

“As such, they no longer have access to dental and vision coverage as a result of the court’s ruling”.

Mr Bevin has been critical of the Medicaid expansion that was enacted by his Democrat predecessor Steve Besmear, and has sought to reform some of those policies.

The cuts to deal and vision benefits for Medicaid recipients was met immediately with repudiations from Democrats, who called on the public to speak up against the cuts.

“We’ve got to have the public rise up,” US Representative John Yarmuth said during a press conference. “This is going to be extremely dangerous for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky”.

Medicaid is a $11 billion-a-year health plan in Kentucky, and covers roughly 1.4 million people, including more than 600,000 children.

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Kentucky to cut dental and vision Medicaid coverage