Mitch McConnell: Senate tax bill helps small business and families while promoting energy independence

For many Americans, the legacy of the Obama economy is sluggish growth, stagnant paychecks, and missed opportunities. A lost generation of workers still struggle with the consequences of the Great Recession and find it nearly impossible to get ahead. One of the biggest obstacles to their success has been our nation’s complex and outdated tax code. For too long it has dragged down our economy and...

Even if automatically re-enrolled, check out your healthcare options; open enrollment ends Dec. 15

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News This is the first year that more than 80,000 Kentuckians with a 2017 health insurance plan on the federal exchange will be automatically re-enrolled in a 2018 marketplace plan. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t check out other options before open enrollment ends Dec. 15. “People should not automatically assume that they are going to get re-enrolled...

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...

Bill Straub: With Senate unable to get anything done, McConnell is facing opposition from all sides

It’s becoming obvious that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell needs to embrace the advice of the late Warren Zevon and seek lawyers, guns and money to fend off the GOP’s right-wing crazies as they go from nipping at his heels to taking a big chunk out of his calf. He is, as the song goes, a desperate man. A coalition of ultra-conservative outfits, including FreedomWorks,...

Bill Straub: McConnell, Trump appear headed for a showdown — and it could come sooner than later

WASHINGTON – If you are among those who felt the nuptial of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn was something of a mismatch, wait until you get a load of the deteriorating relationship between President Trump and Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell. These two star-crossed Republicans appear destined for a showdown and it could come sooner rather than later, further muddling...

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...

Kentuckians have only one choice on exchange plans as Anthem leaves 61 counties

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will no longer offer Obamacare exchange plans statewide, leaving all Kentucky counties with only one choice in 2018. Anthem offered plans in all 120 Kentucky counties last year, and had earlier planned to do the same, but scaled back to 59 counties in 2018 citing a “shrinking and deteriorating individual market, as well...

Rural Blog: Deep budget cuts for health care ads could hurt rural enrollment in Affordable Care Act

The Trump administration has announced deep cuts to programs that help people learn about and sign up for health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Department of Health and Human Services officials told reporters that “advertising will be cut to $10 million for the 2018 open enrollment season. That’s down from $100 million for the 2017 sign-up season. Funding...

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...

Deadlines for individual insurers extended to Sept. 5 amidst uncertainty over cost-sharing subsidies

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Insurers in the Obamacare marketplace for individual coverage have been given three more weeks to finalize their 2018 rates, pushing the deadline to Sept. 5. The most recent filing deadline was Aug. 16. This is in response to the uncertainty around whether the Trump administration will continue to fund the cost-reduction payments that help low- and moderate-income...

Bill Straub: Never popular with Democrats, McConnell now facing critics from the right as well

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell, who has contributed more to the noxious political divide that plagues the nation than any other individual over the past decade, has serendipitously developed a way to unite Democrats and the GOP’s whacko right wing. They both want him gone. Republicans are becoming increasingly agitated with McConnell, of Louisville,...

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...

Blocked again, Republicans divided about whether to keep trying to pass a health insurance bill

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News After his last-ditch attempt to pass a health-insurance bill failed early Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s time to move on,” and scheduled other business. President Donald Trump, hungry for a legislative victory, did not agree. “Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead!...

With McCain casting the decisive vote, McConnell’s latest effort to repeal Obamacare narrowly defeated

With three Republicans joining 48 Democrats voted against the bill, the Senate’s “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, failed by a 51-49 count in action taken early Friday morning. GOP senators voting against the legislation were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine. The bill’s 51-49 defeat pulled the plug,...

Bill Straub: Paul resolutely sticking to his political philosophy regardless of who might be hurt by it

BELMONT, Maine — There is something grotesquely admirable about Sen. Rand Paul’s dogged dedication to his twisted political philosophy – proclaiming it to the rafters like Lincoln at Cooper Union regardless of how many lives it might destroy. The Bowling Green Republican, a celebrated Libertarian, is giving the term Social Darwinism a whole new meaning as he hunts down the Affordable Health...

Commentary: Dual track insurance proposal could send us back to bad old days of American health care

By Trudy Lieberman Special to KyForward A decade ago I interviewed a Florida woman who was the victim of the kind of egregious health insurance abuses that finally disappeared with the Affordable Care Act. They could surface again if the Republicans succeed with the latest health reform proposal offered by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, which would result in a two-track insurance market. Insurers would be able...

Bill Straub: McConnell learns the hard way that depriving 22 million of health care not the best idea

WASHINGTON – Listen closely and you might hear the slightly edited and decidedly un-dulcet tones of the late Howard Cosell bellowing in the back of your mind: “Down goes Root ’n Branch!!! Down goes Root ‘n Branch.” Indeed, it has not proved to be a particularly prosperous time for Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch” McConnell, of Louisville, who this week...

Anderson jailer says repeal of Obamacare, Medicaid expansion could wreak havoc on facility’s budget

A rural Kentucky jailer says repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could cause big problems for the budget of her jail, reports Ben Carlson of The Anderson News in Lawrenceburg, in a story with potential national implications. The operating budget for the Anderson County Jail is just under $1 million, but Jailer Joani Clark has been forced to request large funding increases in the...