A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Rand Paul: Association health plans could be a way to provide good, inexpensive insurance

Obamacare left 27 million people without health insurance and created a situation where insurance premiums have risen over 100 percent. Of the 27 million people that Obamacare left behind, about half of them don’t buy insurance because it is too expensive. So any debate to repeal and replace Obamacare must acknowledge the failures of Obamacare and try to insure more people at a lower price. There...

Former Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will be in Covington to protest ACA repeal effort

Former Democratic Presidential nominee Sen. Bernie Sanders is coming to Covington Sunday to rally the people of to demand that Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) not go forward with his effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As part of “Care Not Cut” rallies, Sanders claims McConnell’s legislation, which would throw 22 million Americans off of health insurance, would...

Preliminary health insurance rates submitted for state market show significant increases for individuals

Insurance carriers have submitted proposed rates to the Department of Insurance (DOI) for 2018 in Kentucky’s individual and small group markets. In a continuing trend tied to market forces, an aging population, and systemic instability and uncertainty injected by the failure of Obamacare, the proposed rates reflect substantial year-over-year increases ranging from 6.5 percent to 47.7 percent, depending...

McConnell, Paul find themselves on opposite sides as Senate health care bill moves toward a vote

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News Senate Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act delivered few surprises but drew deadly opposition, putting Kentucky’s senators on opposite sides. “I’m pleased that we were able to arrive at a draft that incorporates input from so many different members, who represent so many different...

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...

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...

McConnell defends private drafting of health bill; Rand opposes delaying end of Medicaid expansion

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky defended Senate Republicans’ secret drafting of a new health-care law Tuesday, saying committee hearings that Democrats demand aren’t needed. “Look, we’ve been dealing with this issue for seven years. It’s not a new thing. We’ve spent a lot of time on it,” McConnell told reporters. “Nobody’s hiding 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 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....

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...

Trump visits Kentucky, touts GOP replacement to Obamacare to a receptive Louisville crowd

By Robin Cornetet and Tom Latek Special to KyForward President Donald Trump continued his push to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” speaking Monday at a rally in Kentucky, the home state of one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the White House-backed health care plan and also one of its chief critics. “This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare,” Trump told a friendly...