Politics

Politics
11:58 am
Mon October 8, 2012

WaPo Questions Yarmuth Votes and Family Ties

U.S. Congress

An analysis by The Washington Post shows U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has supported a number of bills that benefit the home health care industry, which the three-term Congressman has a $5 million investment in through his brother's business.

The article looks at several members of Congress who have either sponsored or co-sponsored legislation that could personally benefit themselves or a family members's businesses. It goes through financial disclosure forms and other public records, and questions whether more reforms are needed.

Yarmuth’s brother owns Almost Family, a home health care business that provides nursing, rehabilitation and other personal care services. The newspaper reports that Yarmuth, who is a shareholder, did seek an opinion from the ethics committee on whether he could vote on bills relating to the industry when he took office in 2007.

But a trade group representing home health care businesses has lobbied on five bills Yarmuth has co-sponsored.

From The Washington Post:

In office, Yarmuth joined the congressional Home Health Caucus, a group of two dozen lawmakers that promotes the value of in-home health care.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Rand Paul Promotes Compromise As GOP Senate Takeover Chances Dwindle

U.S. Senate

As Election Day nears, it’s becoming less clear who will hold the Senate majority next year.

Earlier this year, most pundits were ready to hand over the keys to the U.S. Senate to Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell.

But now, a GOP takeover looks less likely. “I know there are four or five seats we think we can pick up, there are two or three we have to hang onto. We might lose one or two of the ones we have to hang onto, but then we might pick up three or four," says Senator Rand Paul.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Noise and Notes: Presidential Debate Afterthoughts and Norris Shelton's Pitch for Frankfort

Louisville Public Media

The first presidential debate is behind us, and observers are still digesting how President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney performed.

It was a much anticipated discussion that about 67 million Americans watched, but surprisingly both Mr. Obama's critics and supporters agreed that the president gave a lackluster performance.

Romney was more aggressive and forceful, and this could be the turning point his campaign needs less than five weeks until Election Day. For many, this puts added pressure on Vice President Joe Biden in his debate against Congressman Paul Ryan on Thursday in Danville, Ky.

But the president's supporters point out that while Romney may have won the style of the debate his facts do not add up on a number of his assertions.

I talked to political commentator Stacy Brooks and Louisville Young Republicans Chairman James Young about the debate, Mr. Obama's performance and where the election is headed.

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Politics
1:40 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Wicker Questions Jobs Report

Wicker
Wicker campaign

Republican congressional candidate Brooks Wicker joined a chorus of conservatives who are claiming the September jobs report was manipulated by President Obama for political purposes.

The report compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistic was released Friday and shows the jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent, which is the lowest since January 2009. According to the report, the U.S. economy added 114,000 jobs last month while other figures were revised from July and August to add another 86,000 jobs.

But former GE CEO Jack Welch and Florida Congressman Allen West quickly denounced the report and accused Mr. Obama of massaging the figures.

In a message to supporters, Wicker said he is "sick of political games" being played by the president and his opponent, Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth.

"The math is simple and the jobs numbers just don’t add up. We deserve better than politicians  "revising" numbers, solely concerned about their own re-election. We need to fix the problem of Washington politicians. I will not compromise my integrity to win an election. We need to govern for future generations, and fix this mess Yarmuth helped create," he says.

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Politics
11:55 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Paul Says GOP Should Tone Down Hawkishness on War

U.S. Senate

Senator Rand Paul says his party needs to break away from its base when it comes to war.

In the past, politicians have had a tough time breaking from the base to change party opinion. Think Bill Clinton and welfare reforms.

But Rand Paul says Republicans need to take a similar step on war, and tone down the hawkishness of recent years.

“Well one issue I’ve sided with President Obama on is that I think the war in Afghanistan should end," says Paul. There aren’t many other Republicans saying that, but I think it is time to come home.”

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Politics
4:39 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Consumer Advocates Worry New Medicaid Operators in Louisville Region Will Cause Problems

The Louisville Medicaid region will now be home to four different managed care operators. State officials announced the change today.

Joining Passport Health Plan is Humana, CoventryCares and WellCare.

WellCare and Coventry already have statewide contracts for Medicaid and Passport has operated in Louisville for years.

Passport officials say they will still try to continue maintain their high level of care, despite no longer holding an exclusive contract for the region. 

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Politics
3:24 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Williams Interested in Judicial Appointment

Kentucky Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, would consider a judicial appointment if Governor Steve Beshear offered the position, a spokesperson confirmed.

Rumors have been swirling in Frankfort that Beshear is planning to offer his bitter rival Williams, who is a trial lawyer, the open circuit court seat in his southern Kentucky district. The seat was left vacant due to the death of Judge Eddie Lovelace last month.

"If there is an appointment offer, Sen. Williams will consider it," says Senate GOP spokeswoman Lourdes Báez-Schrader.

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Politics
3:03 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Humana, Passport Join Two Others as New Louisville Medicaid Operators

After decades of having one company oversee Medicaid, the Louisville area will now have four private Medicaid providers.

The Louisville area was the first part of the state to have Medicaid privatized, and Passport Health Plan has administered the program ever since.

But the rest of the state has since been privatized, and multiple operators compete for patients across the commonwealth.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced today that Passport will now have competition from CoventryCares, WellCare and Humana.

Politics
1:15 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Holsclaw Defends Clerk’s Office Against State Audit

Holsclaw

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw is criticizing Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen over a critical report and alleging the findings are motivated by his political ambitions.

Edelen’s audit of the clerk was released Wednesday and found Holsclaw’s office paid employees illegal Christmas bonuses and failed to fully document funds collected for local charities.

Among the audit’s findings was a check written by Holsclaw’s office to the Crusade for Children last year that was approximately $1,300 less than the amount collected. Besides poor documentation of the charitable fundings the audit showed that checks from the Crusade account went to breakfasts and lunches, fundraising awards and retirement party expenses.

It also found that around $99,000 in Christmas bonuses had been paid to employees last December, but the Kentucky Constitution prohibits that practice.

Holsclaw says previous state audits have not shown any accounting issues or wrongdoing, and she questions whether Edelen’s report is politically motivated.

"I can’t speak for this auditor. I don’t even know the man. I do know this; he has a reputation of being very ambitious," she says. "I will certainly say that I admire people who are ambitious. But I will not sit by and allow that to happen at the expense of the reputation of this office."

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Politics
4:27 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

State Chooses Anthem Plan as Benchmark for Insurance Exchange

State officials have chosen the new benchmark program for the Kentucky Health Insurance Exchange.

Officials have recommended the state’s so-called small group plan, provided by Anthem, as the benchmark. All other plans offered in the exchange must provide similar or better care.

The state says the plan is affordable and broad enough to adequately provide for Kentuckians.

But consumer advocates haven't yet decided to endorse the state's decision.

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