A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: There’s cringe-worthy and there’s cringe-worthy; in fact, these amazing actions are a pandemic

One of the most cringe-inducing moments amidst the chaos surrounding the coronavirus pandemic came last week when, during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, credited “the UK’s” handling of the crisis, noting “it’s got the border, it’s got very strong borders,...

Bill Straub: How does Rand really feel? He was for it before he was against it — is that right?

WASHINGTON – Harken back for just a moment to the 2004 political season when John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, rather clumsily – even for him – attempted to explain his opposition to an $87 billion supplemental funding bill to pay for the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by asserting “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” Kerry,...

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...

Dustin Pugel: Cassidy-Graham proposal greatest threat yet to Kentucky’s health care coverage

The latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is known as Cassidy-Graham, and it very well may be the greatest threat to Kentucky’s health care we’ve seen. The state’s recent success in getting people coverage, and even health care gains achieved decades ago, are at risk of being undone with this legislation. The bill, sponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, is perhaps...

Paul joins McConnell to advance health care debate, but votes against first repeal and replace bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got just the votes he needed to start debate on a health-insurance bill Tuesday, but that night Republicans’ “most comprehensive plan to replace President Barack Obama’s health law fell far short of the votes it needed,” The New York Times reported. The latest version of McConnell’s Better Care Reconciliation Act needed 60 votes to overcome...

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...

Fancy Farm ritual coming up next week — even without major elections, lots of hot air and barbecue

By Ryland Barton Kentucky Public Radio The annual Fancy Farm picnic and political speaking event takes place next week in far-west Kentucky’s Graves County. Though no major elections are scheduled to take place this year, state political leaders will still roll up their shirt sleeves and hurl insults at each other during the 137th iteration of the charity event. Gov. Matt Bevin has declined an invitation...

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...

Bill Straub: Health care setback means McConnell might have to do the unthinkable — work with Dems

WASHINGTON – You gotta hand it to Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell – he placed the few strands of honor that remain in his possession behind a health care reform measure that was so atrocious, so historically malevolent and so ugly that even the members of his own party couldn’t stomach it. Faced with a mutiny from both the left and right, McConnell switched...

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...

Kentucky political leaders grateful for quick actions of first responders at Scalise shooting

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT – Kentucky political leaders expressed concern over Wednesday morning’s shooting in Alexandria, Va., that wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others. Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, was practicing for the upcoming Congressional charity baseball game between Democrat and Republican members of Congress when the shooting began. Two Capitol Police...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Pence touts Republican health plan, seeking Paul’s support; Dems say remarks about state are off base

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News Kentucky again became the epicenter of the health-care debate on Saturday, as Vice President Mike Pence claimed in Louisville that “Kentucky is a textbook example of Obamacare’s failures,” while Democrats said Pence didn’t know what he was talking about. “Obamacare has failed the people of Kentucky, Obamacare has failed the people of America...

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...

Kentucky Farm Bureau sends 300 members to Washington to discuss agriculture issues

Kentucky Farm Bureau’s (KFB) volunteer leaders continue the organization’s grassroots policy development process this month as they head to Washington, D.C., with their list of 2017 national priority issues and a willingness to serve as “The Voice of Kentucky Agriculture.” The group, consisting of nearly 300 KFB members from more than 60 different counties, has scheduled a series of strategic...