A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

McConnell delays vote on GOP health bill until after break; measure may need support of Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a vote on Republican senators’ health bill Tuesday, saying it needed redrafting to get the votes it needs to pass. Republicans have 52 of the 100 Senate seats, so McConnell can afford only two defections, and six GOP senators had rejected the bill when he pulled it. Three more did later. After Senate Republicans met with President Trump, McConnell...

McConnell expects to release Obamacare health care replacement bill this week, vote before July 4

By Al Cross and Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Senate Republicans plan to make their repeal-and-replace-Obamacare bill public on Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters Tuesday. The bill is likely to continue the Medicaid expansion, which serves 470,000 Kentuckians, longer than the bill passed by the House, but could make deeper cuts to Medicaid in the long run. McConnell’s...

Trump administration estimates fewer Americans would lose health coverage than CBO forecast

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The Trump administration has come up with its own estimate of how many Americans would lose or forgo health coverage under the bill that House Republicans passed last month, and it’s a lot lower. An actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded that 13 million fewer people would be covered by 2026, not the 23 million estimated by...

Bill Straub: When it comes to replacing Obamacare, McConnell, GOP make sure the fix is in

WASHINGTON – Let’s get a few things straight. Republicans control both the House and Senate and they are on the verge of replacing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, with a hideous facsimile that, by almost all accounts, threatens the insurance coverage of about 23 million Americans, cuts Medicaid to the bone, reduces subsidies afforded to help individuals attain coverage and...

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...

Senate health plan would extend Medicaid expansion past 2020; McConnell sounding more optimistic

The health bill being drafted by Republican senators would extend the Medicaid expansion beyond 2020, the ending date in the health bill the House passed last month, some of them told reporters after meetings on the issue. “Republicans were reluctant to disclose all the details of the bill but said it would protect those with pre-existing conditions and would keep the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid...

McConnell asks colleagues Portman, Toomey to help craft compromise on capping Medicaid spending

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has asked fellow Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania “to come up with a compromise between GOP conservatives and moderates on capping Medicaid spending and rolling back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion to low-income adults,” Harris Meyer reports for Modern Healthcare. “That’s a key disagreement...

Congressional Budget Office review shows 23 million would lose coverage under health care repeal

By Dustin Pugel Special to KyForward The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) review of the health care repeal bill passed by the House weeks ago estimates that 23 million Americans would lose coverage, many low-income and older individuals’ health care costs would rise, and people with poor health would be left with unusable and unaffordable insurance options. The American Health Care Act (AHCA)...

McConnell says he’s still looking for 50 votes in Senate to repeal, replace Affordable Health Care Act

“U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not yet know how Republicans will amass the votes needed to pass legislation now being crafted to dismantle Obamacare,” Reuters reports. “He declined to discuss what provisions he might want to see in the bill or provide a timetable for producing even a draft to show to rank-and-file Republican senators and gauge their support.” McConnell...

McConnell, Senate Republicans likely to make key decisions about health care plan this week

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s role in the national health debate “will come into sharp relief this week,” Burgess Everett and Jennifer Haberkorn report for Politico. “He will decide the contents of the Senate’s plan, most likely behind closed doors. And he is on the hook for getting something through a sharply divided Senate Republican Conference in the midst of an increasingly...

McConnell says work continuing on health care bill, invites Senate Democrats to participate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that all Republican senators are working on a health bill, and invited Democrats to help them. “Can our Democratic colleagues, who promised more choice under Obamacare, really be okay with the continuing failures of Obamacare? The status quo under Obamacare is simply unsustainable and unacceptable,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor....

Yarmuth doubts McConnell will bring a health care bill to a vote in U.S. Senate this year

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the U.S. Senate is working on its own health-care bill, but Kentucky’s only Democrat in Congress said Friday that McConnell won’t bring the bill to a vote in order to protect his fellow Republicans from retribution by voters, Ronnie Ellis reports for CNHI News Service. “I’m convinced that Mitch McConnell will not allow anything to get out of the...

National health care debate now turns to the Senate with questions about what McConnell will do

What will the U.S. Senate, led by Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, do with the health legislation that the House sent it Thursday? “Senate Republicans were in no mood for celebration,” like their House colleagues and President Trump did, The Washington Post reports. “Instead, they sent an unmistakable message: When it comes to health care, we’re going to do our own thing.” Republican...

Commentary: New House health care proposal takes a harmful plan and makes it even more destructive

By Dustin Pugel Special to KyForward Let’s be clear: Rather than a compromise, the new version of the American Health Care Act makes a deeply harmful plan even more destructive. The original proposal, the House’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, failed in part because some members were rightly worried about 24 million people losing health coverage, as projected by the Congressional Budget...

House approves bill halting Medicaid expansion, clears way to higher premiums for pre-existing conditions

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News The health-care bill passed Thursday by House Republicans would end the expansion of Medicaid in 2020, limit the program’s funding after that to a fixed amount per person, and let states allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. On a 217-212 vote, the bill went to the Senate, which undoubtedly will change it. About...

Bill Straub: Barr’s clouded judgment leads to backing health bill denying coverage to his voters

WASHINGTON – Rep. Andy Barr, R-Banks and Financial Institutions, held a town hall in Lexington recently and it’s fair to say he didn’t receive the sort of welcome accorded the Chicago Cubs after they won the World Series last year. What the way-back bench lawmaker did get were the raspberries from a constituency fed up with his kowtowing to the rich money lenders who own him and for his falling...

Health care bill appears dead for this year, but changes still likely in Medicaid, subsidized insurance

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News What does the failure of the bill to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” mean for Kentucky? Probably not much right away, but big changes are still likely next year in the Medicaid program, the expansion of which under the 2010 law had a much larger impact on Kentucky than reform of the private...

Urban Institute analysis shows House repeal of health act would shift $16 billion in cuts to Kentucky

By Jason Bailey Special to KyForward The House Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), would cut federal funding for Medicaid in Kentucky by $16 billion over 10 years, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute. Making up that shortfall would require an increase in state Medicaid spending in Kentucky that would be bigger...