Bill Straub: So far, GOP has little to show for control, so killing health care may be the best they can do

Once again we are sadly reminded that there isn’t anything so terrible in this world that Sen. Rand Paul and his loony-tunes political ideas couldn’t make worse. Paul, R-Bowling Green, has spent the last seven years in the U.S. Senate spouting gibberish, occasionally veering into the sensible lane, and then hiding behind his kookiness by shouting “freedom’’ and “liberty’’ at most inappropriate...

ACA enrollment is on through Dec. 15; sign up early for assistance and compare plans, experts advise

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Sign up early, make sure you compare costs and plans and make an early appointment with your “application assister.” That was the advice given on an Oct. 31 Kaiser Family Foundation webinar offering open enrollment advice to consumers in Kentucky, as well as in Tennessee and Virginia. Open enrollment began Nov. 1 for 2018 health insurance plans sold...

Mitch McConnell: As promised, Senate has passed first Obamacare repeal bill, to fix a broken law

When I became the Senate Majority Leader one year ago, I pledged to Kentuckians and to the American people that a new Republican Senate would work to repeal Obamacare, the most disastrous law in a generation. So I’m proud to report that the Senate has succeeded in this important task. Under my leadership, a majority of the U.S. Senate voted to repeal Obamacare, and passed the first repeal bill out...

Kentucky still in bottom of national health ranking but is among states that saw the greatest improvements

By Melissa Patrick Special to KyForward Kentucky remains in the bottom fourth of a states’ health ranking released Dec. 8, but it was one of the states that saw the greatest improvements of individual health indicators in the first year of full federal health reform. The Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on State Health System Performance looks at five areas: medical-care access and affordability,...

Consumers complain about high deductibles on Obamacare plans; advocates say keep shopping

By Melissa Patrick Special to KyForward Many consumers of health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are finding that it’s not as affordable as the name implies — not because of the premiums, but due to the “sky-high” deductibles that leave many feeling like they don’t have health insurance at all, Robert Pear writes for The New York Times. “The...

Census Report: Kentucky has largest drop in percentage of those without health insurance

    Kentucky led the nation in the largest drop in the percentage of residents without health insuramnce from 2013 to 2014, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.   The percentage of uninsured Kentuckians dropped to 8.5 percent in 2014 from 14.3 percent in 2013. The drop of 5.8 percentage points was double the national decrease of 2.9 percent. The report says 366,000...

‘Snapshot’ of health reform shows a big drop in uncompensated care at Kentucky hospitals

  A continuing study of federal health reform’s impact in Kentucky has found a big drop in uncompensated care – or bad debts – at hospitals. In addition, Medicaid expansion has helped reduce the percentage of people without health coverage more in Kentucky than in adjoining states.   The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is paying the State Health Access Data Assistance...

Politicians, economists and journalists debate impact of proposed sale of Humana to Aetna

By Al Cross Special to KyForward   The purchase of Louisville-based Humana Inc. by fellow health-insurance giant Aetna Inc. for $37 billion still needs approval from federal antitrust officials, partly because of the possibility that the merger will reduce competition and increase premiums.   Some other public officials, the elected kind, wasted no time weighing in on the sale. And, because...

Supreme Court ruling on Affordable Care Act proves ‘we did the right thing,’ Beshear says

  Gov. Steve Beshear, who led Kentucky’s pioneering efforts to enable people without health insurance to shop for coverage through marketplaces called “exchanges,” praised yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the exchanges, a central component of the Affordable Care Act.   In a statement from his office, he said the ruling “reaffirms that, from the...

Bill Straub: Finally, something to be proud of besides basketball, bourbon and fast horses

WASHINGTON – An old, nasty joke has it that Kentucky should change its motto from “United We Stand, Divided We Fall’’ to “Thank God for Mississippi,’’ given the commonwealth’s lowly standing on a number of quality of life issues, with only the Magnolia State positioned between the Bluegrass and the bottom.   So when Kentucky outperforms other states in areas other than college...

Beshear cites improvements to Kynect, says state is ready for upcoming open enrollment

A series of improvements to Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange, will improve consumer experience and encourage more Kentuckians to enroll in affordable health insurance, Gov. Steve Beshear said at a press conference today. Open enrollment on Kynect begins Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15.   “Kentucky is the hands-down national leader in helping people access affordable health care....

McConnell faces diverse pressures on question of repealing health reform law

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he still wants to get rid of Obamacare, and the Kentuckian is “under rapidly increasing pressure from conservatives to pursue an aggressive path to repealing the landmark health care law,” but it won’t be easy, Jennifer Haberkorn reports for Politico.   Ardent conservatives are calling for repeated repeal votes under budget...

Women leading Kentucky health: Haynes’ aim is to get reform ‘baked in’ before end of term

This is the last in a series if stories about four high-ranking female state officials who have guided the state’s embrace of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.   By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News   How does a person create lasting change in an ever-changing political environment? “Bake it in,” says Audrey Tayse Haynes.   As secretary for the Cabinet for...

Women leading Kentucky health: Insurance chief Sharon P. Clark is part of ‘united front’

This is the second in a series of stories about four high-ranking female state officials who have guided the state’s embrace of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.   By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News   The day after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, a reporter called the state Department of Insurance and asked what it all meant. The...

Poll: Kynect considered a success, but voters haven’t embraced it, still disapprove of ACA

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News   A new poll again indicates that Kentuckians marginally approve of the state health-insurance exchange created under the federal health reform law, but clearly disapprove of the law itself.   The poll, taken Aug. 7-10, surveyed Kentuckians who said they were likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election for the U.S. Senate. After questions about the Senate race,...

Beshears, Kentucky have moment in State
of Union spotlight; senators offer response

Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear were guests of Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address. (Photo from RCN/Facebook)   Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and his wife, Jane, were guests of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at last night’s State of the Union Address.   Beshear has been heralded for his implementation of the state’s health care...

First day of health insurance enrollment under way; resources can help you get started

Staff report   Today is the first day Americans can begin buying health insurance through state exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Kentucky’s health insurance exchange is called Kynect, short for Kentucky Healthcare Connection. kynect, like other state exchanges, allows individuals and businesses to compare and select insurance plans and find out if they qualify...