Affordable Care Act

Despite unanswered questions about the impact of federal health care reforms, Kentucky's lawmakers are taking steps to pass a state budget.  House members have begun the process of evaluating and modifying the spending plan proposed by Gov. Steve Beshear.

Steve Beshear couldn't help but chuckle during the State of the Union speech when President Obama said, "Kentucky's not the most liberal part of the country."

Obama was singling out his fellow Democrat for being the rare Southern governor who has fully implemented the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid and running a state health insurance exchange that launched far more smoothly than the federal model.

Wikimedia Commons

A crush of health insurance shoppers in Illinois have been calling a telephone help line set up to answer their questions, as an important deadline looms for the nation's health law.  More than 1,600 people called the Get Covered Illinois Help Desk over the weekend. That's more than double the call volume from the previous weekend. The state's health insurance website saw more than 26,000 visitors over the weekend, an increase of 4,000 from the weekend before.

Kentucky has seen a surge in sign-ups for Medicaid and medical insurance as Monday’s deadline approached for those who want coverage to begin next week.  Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange spokeswoman Gwenda Bond says about 100,000 people have signed up, most of them on Medicaid.  Bond says enrollment has gone from about 1,000 to 3,000 people a day in the past week. 

Medi-Share (

Under the Affordable Care Act, Kentucky chose to expand Medicaid eligibility, which means an additional 308,000 Kentuckians will qualify for health care coverage Jan. 1.

But with more patients able to visit primary care physicians comes a problem. There aren’t enough doctors.

Medi-Share (

While Kentucky’s online marketplace for health insurance is running well, some questions remain about its long term impact. 

Louisville Republican Julie Denton, who chairs the Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee, still worries too many newly-insured Kentuckians will have costly health care needs.

Tambra Momi has been eagerly awaiting the promise of guaranteed health insurance.

Since 2011, she has battled Dercum's disease, a rare and painful condition in which noncancerous tumors sprout throughout her body, pressing against nerves.

Jobless and in a wheelchair, Momi needs nine different drugs, including one costing $380 a month, to control the pain and side effects. No insurer has been willing to cover her, she says, except a few that have taken her money and then refused to pay for her medications.

Medi-Share (

Some of the 280,000 Kentuckians whose insurance policies don't comply with the Affordable Care Act will be able to keep their plans, at least for another year.

Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark told lawmakers today she doesn't know the exact number. About 130,000 Kentuckians have individual policies that don't comply with the federal health care reform. 

Wikimedia Commons

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says his position on changing the filibuster rules in the Senate hinges on intention versus action.

McConnell has been publicly critical of Senate Democrats' move to make it more difficult for the minority party to hold up action on key presidential nominees.

In 2005,  McConnell, then Senate Majority Whip, had pushed for doing the same thing Democrats did yesterday. He addressed his positions with WKMS reporter John Paul Henry.

Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky's Second District Congressman believes the problems with the rollout of Obamacare make it more likely major changes will be made to the law.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie is sponsoring a ten-point bill that includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Speaking today to a gathering of area business leaders, Guthrie said while a repeal isn't likely, the public is getting a glimpse of the problems related to greater government involvement in health care.