A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear fighting temporary injunction request seeking to halt nation’s health care system

Attorney General Andy Beshear is fighting a request for a temporary injunction filed this week by a group of states seeking to halt the nation’s health care system while an ongoing lawsuit on the issue plays out in federal court. Beshear Beshear and a group of state attorneys general are intervening in the lawsuit – Texas et al. v. United States et al. – that claims the ACA is unconstitutional...

Beshear, AGs file court action to block ACA lawsuit; claims Kentucky would lose $49.7 billion in funding

A group of state attorneys general is joining together to protect the nation’s health care system by seeking to intervene in and combat a lawsuit aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General Andy Beshear has announced. The lawsuit claims that the ACA is unconstitutional because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the ACA penalty for failing to purchase health insurance – known...

Substance abuse common in both urban and rural areas, but rural users less likely to seek treatment

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News In some ways, substance abuse is worse in urban areas, but rural drug users are less likely to get treatment, according to two studies recently released by the Rural and Underserved Health Research Center at the University of Kentucky. The studies looked at the last 10 years, which included several significant developments in the field. In 2008-2010 came the...

Constance Alexander: Healthcare costs, lack of compassion in Washington darken last days of 2017

My first interview with Theresa was published December 21, 2000. That story recounted her history: Thirteen years after she successfully battled breast cancer, she was diagnosed with ovarian. Since her bout with breast cancer earned her the dubious distinction of having a “pre-existing condition,” she simply could not afford health insurance. Ovarian cancer demanded a grueling – and costly —...

Bill Straub: Republicans are on verge of adopting bad tax cut measure; they’ll lie — and get away with it

Senate Republicans are on the verge of adopting a tax cut measure that will make the old Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island look like the Garden of Eden and are looking to their always reliable playbook to sell this Krakatoa-sized disaster to an understandably doubting public. Put simply, they will lie. And if history is any guide, they stand a good chance of getting away with it – at least...

UK Healthcare using education incentives to address critical shortage of registered nurses in Kentucky

It has been said that nurses are the most trusted professionals in healthcare. In addition to providing treatment, they are nurturers, educators, and champions for the sick and injured. And Kentucky doesn’t have enough of them. A shortage of registered nurses, whether they are in hospital or clinical setting, is a multifaceted dilemma. The aging “baby boomer” population places a strain...

Changes to Medicaid program mean Kentuckians may need to work, volunteer to remain eligible

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The Trump administration has announced rules changes for the Medicaid program that allow states to require some enrollees to work or volunteer – changes that likely pave the way for Kentucky’s new Medicaid plan to be approved. “Let me be clear to everyone in this room, we will approve proposals that promote community engagement activities,”...

Still without insurance, not Medicaid eligible, you might qualify for free policy; deadline Dec. 15

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Premiums are higher for health insurance through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but federal subsidies mean the total cost will be about the same. And many people will qualify for subsidies large enough to completely pay for a low-cost “bronze” plan — or make it less than the penalty for not having health insurance. To find an...

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...

Bill Straub: Latest effort to repeal and replace ACA not about improving health care … it’s about winning

WASHINGTON – To quote Michael Corleone, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.’’ Efforts a few months back by the Republican Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, that dastardly program promulgated to bolster the nation’s health needs through an extensive insurance program, suffered an ignoble defeat, leaving Senate Republican Leader Mitch...

New data shows rise in number of Kentuckians with health insurance coverage thanks to ACA

Newly-released U.S. Census data shows Kentucky continued its historic progress in reducing the share of residents without health insurance coverage in 2016, down to only 5.1 percent compared to 6.0 percent in 2015 – a statistically significant drop over the past year. The new American Community Survey data (ACS) shows Kentucky has also experienced a statistically significant 9.2 percentage point...

Rural Blog: All counties in the U.S. now have at least one option for private health insurance for 2018

Dozens of counties, mostly in rural areas, were at risk of having no individual private insurance options in 2018 after companies like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield pulled out of the markets. But a few insurance companies have filled gaps in coverage, and now there are no areas in the U.S. without coverage. Paulding County, Ohio, was the last “bare” county until CareSource committed...

Trump threat to stop subsidies has insurers jumpy; CareSource to refile rate plan in 61 Ky. counties

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News President Trump’s threats to stop funding the cost-reduction payments that help low- and moderate-income people afford Obamacare health insurance has created great uncertainty for insurers, and is likely the reason CareSource just withdrew its initial rate filing in Kentucky. CareSource, which planned to offer individual plans in 61 Kentucky counties, originally...

Commentary: As the debate rages on, cost of health care is the real problem that needs solving

By John Winn Miller Special to KyForward Americans will always be at loggerheads about health-care reform until we stop acting like the blind men trying to describe an elephant by touching only one part of the animal. Look at the whole elephant and you’ll see the cost of health insurance is the tail end of a much bigger problem. Republicans promised to cut premiums for many by reducing the number...

Bill Straub: It’s well past time for McConnell, GOP to stand up to an increasingly erratic Trump

BELMONT, Maine – There comes a moment in the old Marx Brothers movie A Day at the Races where a man confronts Groucho, as Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush, and demands to know if he is a man or a mouse. “You put a piece of cheese down there and you’ll find out,’’ Hackenbush responds. Well, President Trump just tossed a whole slab of cheddar at the feet of Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n...

McConnell says he doesn’t have votes for health care bill; will move forward on effort to repeal ACA

In a statement released late Monday night, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), acknowledged that he does not have the votes to pass the proposed new health care bill. He indicated in the statement that the Senate will now take up a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and implement a two-year transition period to move to a new health care system. Sen. Mitch McConnell The statement...

Urban Institute study predicts Kentucky’s uninsured population would triple if ACA is repealed

By Dustin Pugel Special to KyForward Kentucky would see its uninsured rate more than triple under the proposed Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the Urban Institute, Kentucky’s uninsured population would jump by 541,000 people in 2022 based on the proposed changes to the healthcare system. The primary reason for the coverage losses is a cut in federal funding for...

Kentuckians who lose coverage resulting from Medicaid cuts will have few if any options

By Dustin Pugel Special to KyForward Many of Kentucky’s 1.4 million Medicaid enrollees would lose coverage from the radical cuts proposed in the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the proposed Trump Budget. Because of the changes in the AHCA to the marketplaces, those left without Medicaid coverage wouldn’t have other affordable options for insurance, either. This toxic combination of slashing...

Kentucky extends deadline for insurance companies to submit new rates a second time

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Uncertainty continues to surround the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s market for individual heath-care policies. Kentucky has extended for a second time the deadline for insurance companies to file plans and rates for next year, Anthem has pulled out of Ohio’s marketplace, and states are making deals with insurers to keep them from leaving. The...

Report: While more Kentuckians have insurance, health outcomes show little progress so far

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The percentage of Kentuckians without health insurance has dropped by more than half since the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act three years ago, and few of the insured are having trouble finding a doctor when they need one, according to a report for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. However, the report also said little progress...