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Kentucky governor working towards health care coverage for 100% of African Americans

Posted at 7:47 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 19:47:40-04

During his Monday press conference, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that he is beginning an effort where 100% of African Americans in Kentucky would be covered by some kind of healthcare coverage, whether it be medicaid, medicare or a private insurance.

"In our healthcare 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."

Beshear noted that he believes that healthcare is a basic human right and reminded everyone that when he was running for governor, he wanted everyone to have some sort of healthcare coverage.

"We are going to be putting dollars behind it," Beshear said. "This is just a first commitment"

Lt. Jacqueline Coleman also talked about changes she proposed at a recent Kentucky Board of Education that she believes will put African American children in a better position to be successful.

The first change Lt. Coleman proposed was to appoint a non-voting member to the board that is a current student.

"By adding a current student to the Board of Education this ensures that every group in public education has a seat at the table as we talk about the future of public education in Kentucky," Coleman said.

The second proposed change was to implement a state-wide implicit-bias training for all school faculty and staff.

"The issue of bias that all of us harbor is something we must confront, especially if that bias hinders opportunities for our children," Coleman said.

The third change Lt. Coleman proposed involved developing new strategies and programs to recruit more people of color into the field of teaching.

"For many of our kids, the first leader outside of their home are their teachers," Lt. Coleman noted. "Kentucky's kids of color deserve to see themselves reflected in their community leaders. All of our children are better prepared for their future when exposed to a diverse community of leaders and teachers."

Lt. Coleman also noted that end of the year test scores were higher for black students who have teachers who "look like themselves." Coleman said that black students who have just one black teacher by third grade are 13% more likely to go to college. If a black student has two teachers by third grade, they are 32% more likely to go to college.

Lt. Coleman said they are going to work with Kentucky's higher education systems, especially Kentucky's historical black colleges and universities like Kentucky State and Simmons College, to "recruit tomorrow's nation builders."