A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Paul says conservatives won’t support Republican health plan, hope to negotiate one more to their liking

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul laid out his objections to House GOP leaders’ bill to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Paul called for an end to federal mandates for what insurance policies must cover, which the 2010 law called “essential benefits.” He said that change would enable consumers to buy the sort...

Commentary: House plan unwinds coverage gains, makes harmful changes to Medicaid program

By Dustin Pugel Special to KyForward By several measures, Kentucky has been the nation’s biggest winner from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Nearly seven years later, those gains and more are at risk in the recently released American Health Care Act (AHCA) – which not only fails to replace the ACA resulting in lost coverage for millions, but goes beyond it to restructure the Medicaid program in...

Republican health plan proposal wouldn’t affect Medicaid until 2020, still awaits budget office review

House Republicans’ bill to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has “a more conservative vision for the nation’s health-care system, replacing federal insurance subsidies with a new form of individual tax credits and grants to help states shape their own policies,” Amy Goldstein, Mike DeBonis and Kelsey Snell report for The Washington Post. “Under two bills...

Rural Blog: Repealing Medicaid expansion provision of ACA could leave more rural hospitals at risk

Repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could lead to an increase in the number of vulnerable rural hospitals, Shawn Radcliffe reports for Healthline. A report by the Chartis Center for Rural Health found that in states that expanded Medicaid in 2014, 36 percent of rural hospitals had a negative operating margin in 2015, compared to 47 percent in states that didn’t expand the program....

Repealing ACA could hinder treatment for opioid addiction, epidemic in Appalachia, rural areas

From Rural Blog President Trump’s pledge to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could have dire effects on drug-treatment programs, especially in Appalachia and other rural areas plagued by the opioid epidemic, Christine Vestal reports for Stateline. An estimated 1.6 million previously uninsured addicts in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid gained coverage since 2014, including...

Study: Medicaid expansion in 2014 didn’t cause migration from states that did not ease restrictions

There is “little to no evidence” that some states’ expansion of Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2014 encouraged migration to expansion states from non-expansion states in that year, says the author of a study published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. “Migration from non-expansion states to expansion states, among those who I...

Paul offers plan to repeal most of Obamacare, including coverage for pre-existing conditions

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky “is gathering support among Republican lawmakers for an ACA replacement plan designed to make health insurance less expensive by lifting many of the health law’s key requirements,” including coverage of pre-existing conditions, which President-elect Donald Trump wants to keep, Alex Ruoff reports for the Bureau of National Affairs, a Washington newsletter...

Kentucky shows sharp improvement in number of low-income uninsured, study shows

Kentucky had the largest drop in low-income, working-age people without health insurance, and the biggest decline in adults who passed up medical care due to cost, after the state embraced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Those two findings were the Kentucky highlights of the latest Commonwealth Fund report on the impacts of the 2010 health-reform law, released last week. The report...

Bill Straub: Voters in Eastern Kentucky took a gamble on Trump — and may end up paying a steep price

WASHINGTON – It’s beginning to appear that many of the folks residing within the always-stunning hills and hollows of Eastern Kentucky who voted to make Donald J. Trump the next president of these United States are beginning to feel like a crappie at the end of a hook – that worm sure looked tasty at the time, but the consequences sure proved to be hell. And with good reason. Eastern Kentucky...

Substance use treatment services covered by Medicaid expansion up by 740 percent since 2014

Treatment services for substance use increased by 740 percent for Medicaid expansion beneficiaries over the 30 months from the beginning of 2014 through mid-2016, according to a report released Wednesday by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The expanded Medicaid program in the Commonwealth under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) covered approximately 11,000 substance use treatment services in the...

Yarmuth named top Democrat on House Budget Committee, will have role in Obamacare debate

Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville has been named ranking minority member on the House Budget Committee, a panel that will consider repeal and replacement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Yarmuth has been on the committee for eight years and was elected unanimously to the leadership post by his fellow Democrats. The committee, which decides on federal spending but doesn’t actually...

Medicaid expansion results in more Kentuckians obtaining preventative breast cancer screenings

The cost of more than 8,500 breast cancer screenings was covered by the state’s Medicaid expansion during the second quarter of this year. This accounted for 87 percent of the breast cancer screenings covered by Medicaid in that quarter. Similarly, Medicaid expansion has enabled more dental, diabetes, Hepatitis C, and colorectal cancer screenings for low-income Kentuckians, according to a report...

Over 1 million signed up for insurance on federal exchange during early days of enrollment

More than a million people have enrolled in plans on HealthCare.gov since Nov. 1 and more than 300,000 did after Donald Trump was elected president, the federal officials reported. Of the 1,008,200 sign-ups, 246,000 are new to the federal marketplace. The overall total is 53,000 more than the first 12 days of open enrollment in 2015. While running for president Trump said he would repeal the Affordable...

Kentuckians likely to need help signing up for health insurance on exchange, especially in east and south

Kentuckians looking for a 2017 health plan on the federal exchange will likely need some help signing up, if a study of last year’s need for support on the former Kynect exchange is any indication. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky study found that more than half of Kentuckians (52.3 percent) who got their health insurance through Kynect last year worked with a kynector, a person who helped...

State sues failed Kentucky Health Co-op’s former chief executive board, alleging mismanagement

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News The former president and directors of the Kentucky Health Cooperative, created under federal health reform, are facing a lawsuit from the state as liquidator of the failed, not-for-profit health insurer. “Years of mismanagement by co-op administrators and contractors forced the co-op into liquidation, leaving Kentucky’s citizens and their health-care...

UK receives $1 million grant from CMS to connect children in Appalachia to health insurance

By Mallory Powell Special to KyForward The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) is one of 38 community organizations to receive funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help enroll eligible children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as part of the Connecting Kids to Coverage campaign. These awards, provided...

UK Center for Rural Health receives $1 million grant to connect children in appalachia to health insurance

University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health (Photo from UKNow) The University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) is one of 38 community organizations to receive funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help enroll eligible children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as part of the Connecting Kids to Coverage campaign....

More have health insurance, but significant number still can’t afford coverage, KHIP report shows

Policy efforts that lead to decreased smoking rates engender strong support among Kentucky adults, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) series of regional reports, which found that a majority Kentucky adults in every region of the Commonwealth support smoke-free campuses, a statewide smoke-free law and raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. Such policies could...

Studies show many Americans having trouble affording high out-of-pocket medical costs

The United States has entered the era of high out-of-pocket medical cost as a way to keep insurance premiums low, but recent studies have found that many Americans are having trouble paying them, and the presidential candidates are hardly talking about this issue, Harris Meyer reports for Modern Healthcare. Nearly 25 percent of Americans surveyed last September who had coverage through employer plans,...

UnitedHealth Group to stop offering state insurance plans through Affordable Care marketplace

UnitedHealth Group Inc. won’t be participating in Kentucky’s individual insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act marketplace next year, which could leave about 20 percent of the state with just one insurer to choose from for next year and another 22 percent with only two choices, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Including Kentucky, this brings the...