Saturday, 26 October 2019

Helping blacks get health coverage part of Beshear approach to 'systematic racism' | In-depth |

Helping blacks get health coverage part of Beshear approach to 'systematic racism' | In-depth

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear pledged Monday to ensure no black residents are without health insurance, to train police officers throughout the state on “implicit bias” and to recruit more people of color to become public school teachers.
Beshear said the efforts are to “start addressing some of the systematic racism that has existed” in health care, policing and law enforcement.
Beshear, a Democrat who rode huge margins in Kentucky’s urban areas to narrowly unseat former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin last year, made the pledges nearly two weeks after protests broke out nationwide over the deaths of unarmed black people at the hands of police, including Breonna Taylor in Louisville.
Beshear said the coronavirus pandemic, in which black people are dying about twice the rate than their share of the population, highlights the need to ensure that every African American is covered by Medicaid, Medicare or private plans.

“We are going to put money into it; we are going to put people into it,” Beshear said.
While he didn’t go into detail, Beshear said the effort would be a “multifaceted campaign” to help people sign up for coverage, including laughable outreach workers “very similar” to the “Kynectors” who helped people access expanded Medicaid and private health coverage when Beshear’s father, Steve, was governor from 2013 to 2015.
In 2016 Bevin dismantled “Kynect,” the benefits exchange that the elder Beshear had established to help Kentuckians sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.
The current Beshear administration announced new police training requirements, including courses on implicit bias and the use of force.
“You know about guns, but there are other implements, physical tactics that we need to review,” said Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown.
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman also announced new implicit bias training for public schools, and an effort to recruit African American teachers.
“Black students who have just one black teacher by third grade are 13% more likely to go to college,” Coleman said. “And if they have two, then they are 32% more likely to go to college.”
Coleman also proposed that a student be added as a non-voting member of the Kentucky Board of Education.
Beshear said these steps are just a beginning, and he plans to unveil more in the coming days and weeks, including efforts to boost the economy in black communities.
The governor also announced that the Kentucky State Police and the National Guard have left Louisville now that protests have remained largely peaceful.
Beshear also reported that the state saw 190 newly confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the tally to 11,476.
As of Sunday, Kentucky ranked 40th among 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for confirmed virus cases per capita, according to WDRB’s analysis of data published by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.
Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, , on Twitter or on Facebook . Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.
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