Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday that the state would begin working towards getting "100% of our individuals in our black and African-American communities" health insurance in an effort to correct racial inequalities in health coverage.
For the last several months, Beshear has highlighted the heavy toll COVID-19 has taken on black citizens in particular. Saying that he believes health care "is a basic human right," the governor wants all black residents who do not have private health insurance to be on Medicare or Medicaid.
"In our health care system, the inequalities have been exposed by this COVID-19 epidemic," Beshear said. "The results of inequality in our healthcare have been shown. It is death. By allowing this kind 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. It simply can't be allowed to continue any longer, and it certainly shouldn't have taken a pandemic or these types of demonstrations for us to commit to ending it."
No specific policies or plans were announced, and the governor acknowledged he had not yet worked through the details, but he assured reidents that Kentucky would be "putting dollars behind it."
"This is the time where we have the opportunity to be better people," the governor said.