Kentucky Governor Outlines Plan to Provide Health Care Coverage to '100 Percent' of Black Residents

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced his administration will begin working to end health care inequalities in black communities, with the aim of providing coverage to "100 percent" of the state's African-American residents.

The Democratic Kentucky governor vowed to begin working toward tangible changes in the state's health care system, focusing on a three-pronged approach to improving health care for "everybody." Beshear said coverage, access and quality are the main components of his push to reduce inequality along racial and socio-economic lines. Echoing the promises of many progressive federal lawmakers, Beshear said Monday during his daily coronavirus press conference he believes "health care is a basic human right."

The Kentucky governor reiterated that the inequality in the state's health care system were exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, which killed black Americans at a rate much higher than white Americans nationwide.

"My commitment today is we are going to begin an effort to cover 100 percent of our individuals in our black and African-American communities—everybody," the governor said during his Monday address. "We're going to be putting dollars behind it, we're going to have a multi-faceted campaign to do it. But it's time, especially during COVID-19, when we see what happens when you don't have coverage. We need to make sure everybody does."

"Today, I'm going to make a commitment on coverage. I believe that health care is a basic human right and I talked about when I was running that I wanted everybody to have some form of health care coverage," he continued. "Well, as I've been listening and as I've been trying to hear from those who have been giving voice on in inequality, it is that it's time to give prioritization in black and African-American communities, so we are going to do that."

According to Kentucky's state health department statistics regarding COVID-19, a total of 285,358 people were tested statewide since the outbreak of the pandemic, amounting in 472 deaths at this point. A total of 11,476 people tested positive for coronavirus and 3,359 recovered. But Beshear noted Monday that black residents of Kentucky, a large percentage of whom live in the greater Louisville metro area, died at a much higher rate than people from other communities.

"In our health care system, the inequality of our system have been laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic," Beshear continued. "By allowing this type of inequality to exist for as long as it has, we see African-Americans dying at twice the rate that they make up of the population. That simply cannot be allowed to continue any longer. It shouldn't have taken this kind of pandemic and it shouldn't have taken these types of demonstrations for us to commit to ending it."

The state and its law enforcement system is also under scrutiny from anti-police brutality protesters across the country as they demand answers over the March 13 shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers executing a search warrant. Attorneys for Taylor's family have questioned the validity of the Louisville Metro Police Department in obtaining a "no-knock warrant," which prompted an exchange of gunfire with her boyfriend that ultimately caused her death. Police fired 20 shots into the home, eight of which struck Taylor.

Newsweek reached out to Governor Beshear's office Monday evening for any additional remarks or plans for the state.

kentucky governor beshear health care
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced his administration will begin working to correct health care inequalities in black communities, with the aim of providing coverage to "100 percent" of the state's African-American communities. Screenshot: Kentucky State Government
Kentucky Governor Outlines Plan to Provide Health Care Coverage to '100 Percent' of Black Residents | News