A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Two years early, Kentucky’s public universities hit key targets on STEM+H bachelor’s degrees

Kentucky’s public universities chalked up another win for workforce readiness in 2018-19, surpassing a major milestone for bachelor’s degrees in high-demand STEM+H fields – science, technology, engineering, math and health care. The state’s strategic plan, “Stronger by Degrees,” called on universities to produce at least 6,620 STEM+H degrees annually by the 2020-21 academic year. However,...

John Schaaf: McConnell’s talk of state bankruptcy is strange, and his timing of announcement is peculiar

In a strange move, Sen. Mitch McConnell recently announced he favors “allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” so he’s pushing an idea that would require states to raise taxes and sell off assets such as the Kentucky State Parks. Sen. McConnell’s announcement is peculiar because of its timing and because of the chaos that would result if a state declared it could not pay its bills. Luckily,...

KHIP: One in five Kentuckians delays health care because of cost; one in four skip prescriptions

The cost of health care and medication remained a problem for hundreds of thousands of Kentucky adults in 2019, according to the Kentucky Health Issues Poll. Although the percentage of Kentucky adults who delayed or skipped doctor visits or did not fill a prescription because of the cost has declined in the past decade, those most affected tend to have lower incomes and are more likely to have poorer...

Chamber of Commerce survey of state businesses details employer expectations as economy reopens

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce surveyed 443 businesses across the Commonwealth in attempts to illustrate the virus’s impact on the business community. The Chamber invited businesses from across the state to provide their feedback over a 10-day period from April 10-April 20. The majority of responses came from small businesses with more than 65 percent of surveys...

Dennis Keene: Beshear’s proposed budget moves Kentucky forward, reverses effects from years of cuts

In my previous roles at Southbank Partners and as the 67th district representative, my mission was to fight for economic development and growth for Northern Kentucky. Now, as the commissioner for the Department for Local Government (DLG) I am broadening that purpose by collaborating with local officials across the commonwealth to improve every community. So far, I am encouraged by Gov. Andy Beshear’s...

Beshear unveils ‘Education First’ budget ending 14 years of cuts; funds health, pensions, social workers

Gov. Andy Beshear outlined his first budget to lawmakers on Tuesday prioritizing education, health care and protecting our children, underlining his belief that a budget is a statement of values. “It is a budget that not only ends years of painful cuts, it also makes a major investment in public education, fully funds expanded Medicaid, makes a historic investment in protecting our children, directs...

Trudy Lieberman: Low-value tests are costly, can lead to harm; limit medical costs by avoiding them

We know too well the cost of American health care keeps rising as far as the eye can see. In 1995 health care accounted for 13.4 percent of GDP; in 2018 it consumed 17.7 percent. It is projected to rise even more. Despite all the talk about how patients should become wise consumers of medical care, they can’t really do much to stop the big hospital systems, big physician groups, or powerful drug...

State of Commonwealth: Gov. Beshear says state’s future depends on Kentuckians working together

In his first State of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said Kentucky’s future depends on leaving divisive politics in the past and focusing on providing opportunity for every Kentucky family.   Gov. Beshear said the transformational and positive change Kentucky families count on occurs when we break the cycles of poverty, abuse and addiction, and obtain a good-paying career,...

Kentucky lawmakers Scott, Wiederstein pre-file bill aimed at addressing maternal deaths

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service State legislators have pre-filed a bill aimed at addressing racial bias in health care that contributes to Kentucky women dying during or following childbirth. Co-sponsored by Reps. Attica Scott of Louisville and Rob Wiederstein of Henderson, both Democrats, Bill Request 88 would create local maternal fatality review teams, require implicit bias training for perinatal...

Al Cross: As race for governor heats up, both sides are missing an honest discussion of health care

The race for governor has begun in earnest, with both sides using scare tactics. But both sides also seem scared of saying the wrong thing about the most important issue to voters, health care. Yes, health care. That may have been the most surprising news of the week, in the Prichard Committee’s release of its poll, taken in June. Asked which issue “should be the top priority for your elected officials...

KCTCS offers Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program this fall for top five in-demand career fields

Kentuckians who are interested in earning a certificate or an associate degree in one of the top five in-demand fields in the Commonwealth could go to college tuition free at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Thanks to the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program, students who choose programs in advanced manufacturing, health care, transportation/logistics, business and IT...

Behind the scenes, health insurers use cash and gifts to sway which benefits employers choose

(Photo by Justin Volz, Special to ProPublica) The insurance industry gives lucrative commissions and bonuses — from six-figure payouts to a chance to bat against Mariano Rivera — to the independent brokers who advise employers. Critics call the payments a “classic conflict of interest” that drive up costs. By Marshall Allen This story was co-published by ProPublica and NPR’s Shots blog The...

Many Kentuckians will decide more than just the election this fall as they review health care options

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Candidates in the upcoming election aren’t the only choices Kentuckians need to make this fall. Some workers will have to decide on health insurance options for 2019. Executive Director of United Healthcare of Kentucky Paul Brophy explains it’s the time of year when many companies set aside a two-week period for employees to select health benefits for...

Second annual Kentucky Registered Apprenticeship Summit set for Sept. 10-12 in Louisville

Learn about the rapidly expanding career and business opportunities available to Kentuckians at the second annual Kentucky Registered Apprenticeship Summit Sept. 10-12 at the Kentucky Exposition Center at 937 Phillips Lane in Louisville. Registration for the free event, co-hosted by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and UPS, is at form.jotform.com. The summit will bring together...

Commentary: Passport Health Plan, Bluegrass Harvest partnership increasing food access

Health care is more than going to your doctor and taking medicine. When we take a closer look beginning in the home, and extending to the workplace, our schools, and our neighborhoods, we see that the social determinants of health play a major role in overall health and well-being. Research on the social determinants of health is fairly new, but there’s no question that access to food, income, education,...

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...

Roundtable says poor health a major obstacle to economic development in Appalachia

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Appalachia faces many hurdles when it comes to economic development and creating a healthy workforce, including education barriers, addiction issues, stigma and overall poor health. Those were the conclusions of a 13-member panel convened to discuss the findings of two new Appalachian Regional Commission reports that found Appalachian health continues to fall...

Healthy Start: Returning college students should also make plans to take care of their health

By Dr. Ann Hays Special to KyForward As August begins, college-bound students and their families will soon begin planning for college this fall. While shopping for dorm supplies and registering for classes, new college students should also take a moment to plan for a healthy start to their new lives. When packing for college, include up-to-date childhood immunization records, copies of health insurance...

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...