LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Following Gov. Andy Beshear’s commitment to provide health coverage to “100 percent” of Kentucky’s black communities, several community leaders spoken out to show their support.
Ben Chandler with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky tells WAVE 3 “this is a long time coming.”
“The health of the people of Kentucky is a tale of two cities or a tale of two populations,” he said. “You’ve got a population that suffers from economic hardship of one kind or another and they don’t do very well. The reason for that of course is years, centuries in fact, of discrimination.”
Chandler said his organization stands ready to support the governor’s efforts.
“I am very excited about what Gov. Beshear has done,” he said.
Leaders with the UofL Health Sciences Center have also voiced their support for Beshear’s announcement. Dr. V. Faye Jones, Interim Senior Associate Vice President for Diversity and Equity, issued the following statement:
“This is exciting news, and a great initial step to address health disparities. We also need to address disparities by investing in education, housing, jobs and wealth accumulation, but I am thrilled to hear this announcement."
Beshear’s commitment to racial inequity comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic where black Kentuckians died at dis-proportionally high rates. It also comes in the midst of protests led by black communities against police brutality.
Kevin Fields with Louisville Central Community Centers tells WAVE 3 he appreciates Beshear’s new focus.
“It’s refreshing to see that the state is zeroing in on the needs in our community,” he said.
The governor and his cabinet are now catching up to work already in progress according to Fields. He says healthcare is just one part of the equation.
“When I hear the term health care I look at it from a broader perspective than just health insurance, that’s important, but we know that that’s already been legislated,” he said. “We also applaud the governor talking about economic development in the African American community because we had not had that level of leadership coming from the state.”