More Kentuckians Gain Insurance, But Health Outcomes Still Lag

Dec 14, 2017

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A new study from the Commonwealth Fund finds the number of people in Kentucky who don’t have health insurance continues to decline since the provisions of the Affordable Care Act fully went into effect in 2014. Despite these gains, a separate report of nationwide health rankings showed Kentucky falls near the bottom in terms of health outcomes.

The United Health Foundation released that report on Tuesday, ranking Kentucky's overall health 42nd in the nation. That number marks a slight improvement over last year when the state was ranked 45th.

Sara Collins from the Commonwealth Fund said other studies have shown slow improvements in the health outcomes of people who have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act, whether it be Medicaid or the individual exchange.

“We’re only just beginning to see improvements in health-related outcomes," Collins said. "And that’s likely a more lagged effect.”

Meanwhile, Kentucky's gains in health insurance coverage might be at risk. Congressional Republicans tried multiple times this summer to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, which the health policy experts say would have crashed that insurance market.

They also proposed rolling back Medicaid expansion over a number of years. Both of those efforts are still underway in different bills in Congress.