By JEFF JOBE
Kentucky is making news and fortunately the stories are not making us look like the freeloaders, or uneducated, backward racists our own biased journalists try to spin.
This discussion is driven by reputable news sources such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post outside Kentucky because our own national and state news coverage from the daily papers would rather ignore than acknowledge that Governor Matt Bevin is breaking new ground to help working class families.
It is just plain common sense to place a work requirement or some “community engagement” for able-bodied people wanting to get Medicaid coverage. Heck, I say give more to those who we can require more from.
This is not at all a new concept; just one in which our younger readers have never been exposed. But for my generation and certainly those older than me, we grew up knowing nothing was for free and any help given was appreciated.
This is my story…
Our government gave me help and I will appreciate it until the day I die. Because of a compassionate but fiscally responsible government program back in the early 1980’s, my family has been changed for the better for generations to come.
This is the absolute same style of compassion but yet good honest government stewardship Governor Matt Bevin has stepped out to lead not only Kentucky, but soon the nation, on a path of changing lives, showing we are indeed a compassionate people and getting back to honoring the hard-working tax payers by making sure our programs are indeed going to those in need.
My story is simple. Just a few days after my 15th birthday I was run over by a speedboat while tubing with friends on the Ohio River near my hometown of Greenup, Kentucky. After months in intensive care treatment, physical therapy, braces, crutches, and a total of 9 surgeries; the reality was I would never run, ride a bike or perform the most routine tasks that required bending your knees. I had a fused left leg and walked with a limp.
After a few years of high school and finishing my senior year I had come to think of myself as, “this guy with a unique strut” or this is how I pretended to think of myself. I never thought of myself as disabled, even those early years with the terrible pain would I allow myself to have this classification.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I was approached by an individual with the Social Security Administration. This woman came to my high school and informed me because of my disability and my grades I qualified for a college/work program. This program would pay for my first semester at the University of Kentucky, get me a job at the local hospital and if I made my grades and kept the job I would then earn a second semester of classes and work.
Going to college was an amazing accomplishment but for me the life changing opportunity came from going to classes with students from diverse backgrounds and good families, and working in the hospital with educated, friendly professionals.
I soon realized the only difference in a poor family and a rich family was the confidence that comes from someone having a good job, or someone who established a strong foundation for others to build.
I strive with all my heart to be that foundation for the Jobe family and feel blessed to be in a position to help my children realize an even higher path in life.
But this feeling was only realized because I went to work and made the grades as required. I was told we can’t help you if you don’t help yourself. This is exactly what Governor Bevin is trying to do for these Medicaid families.
In today’s real world we have government managers saying, “we need to spend this before the end of the year or we won’t get as much funding as we did last year.” We have unemployed workers saying, “I don’t really want the job because if I get one I will lose my benefits.” We even have single moms saying, “I get more money and a better apartment if I have another child.”
I call these “upside-down philosophical ideas” they come from a system managed by individuals who just don’t understand. They don’t know how it feels to be poor, to be looked down on or to know if they get work it will cost them. I believe their hearts are in good places, but what they offer by giving handouts and discouraging work, or advancement and a path to independence has destroyed generations and just about wrecked the financial stability of our state and country.
Governor Bevin has seen the same abuses we have and wants to manage our state’s finances in a manner to continue helping those in need while encouraging those with ability to get to work.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at email@example.com. Read his previously published commentary at www.jobeforkentucky.com