Obamacare

Local News
6:37 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Kentucky's Online Health Insurance Exchange Gets 2,902 Completed Applications on Day 1

Credit Shutterstock.com

Into its first evening Tuesday, 2,902 Kentuckians had completed applications through the state's online health insurance exchange and 4,691 applications were started, Gov. Steve Beshear said via Twitter.

Also, 35 small business owners (businesses with 25 or fewer employees can get tax credits) had begun the application process, the governor Tweeted. By 7 p.m., about 78,000 people had logged onto the online health insurance exchange, called kynect. 

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Politics
9:59 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Mitch McConnell: 'Americans Don't Want a Government Shutdown and They Don't Want Obamacare'

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

Hours away from a government shutdown, the Democratic-controlled Senate once again rejected a House Republican spending plan that seeks to delay the president's health care law.

The party line 54-46 vote continues the back-and-forth between the two chambers with less than three hours before the midnight deadline.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also repeated his statement blaming Senate Democrats as a partial shutdown appeared inevitable.

From McConnell's office:

"Americans don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want Obamacare. But Senate Democrats have once again blocked a House-passed bill to keep the government open while protecting Americans from the consequences of Obamacare.

The fact that the President is unilaterally granting waivers to some Americans but not others shows that even he doesn’t think Obamacare is ready for primetime. There is bipartisan support for providing the same treatment to individuals and families that the White House has already given employers.

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Politics
7:01 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Taking Myth-Buster Lead Ahead of Obamacare Implementation

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is scheduled to launch its open enrollment for individuals without health insurance beginning on Oct. 1.

And Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth is taking the lead on debunking what the Democratic lawmaker calls myths and "scare tactics" about its implementation.

In Kentucky, one in six people are uninsured and officials hope as the law unfolds that residents will take advantage of the state-approved insurance plans.

One of the chief changes under the new federal mandate is no one can be denied health care coverage for any reason, including pre-existing conditions.

But three years after it passed, Obamacare remains the source of continued bickering in Washington and the root of a possible government shutdown.

"A lot of this is partisan and anti-Obama sentiment because we know that people support the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act by substantial margins," says Yarmuth, who voted for the law in 2010.

A recent poll conducted by CNBC bears out what the congressman is saying. The survey found 46 percent of Americans oppose the law when it carries the president’s name. But just 37 percent said they oppose the law when it is called the Affordable Care Act.

In states like Kentucky—where Obama is immensely unpopular—that has resulted in considerable confusion about the law as state officials are encouraging people to sign-up.

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Local News
6:53 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Kentucky Prepares To Open Online Health Insurance Marketplace

Credit Shutterstock.com

Kentucky's health insurance exchange—an element of Obamacare— opens Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Kentuckians. For the first time they’ll be able to shop around online for health insurance that’s competing for business.

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Politics
2:40 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Praises House 'Compromise' Bill as Shutdown Appears Imminent

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit File photo

With less than 36-hours until a shutdown, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says a late night vote by the House has presented Democrats with a way to keep the federal government running.

The new proposal is being pitched by Republican leaders as a compromise, but it still links financing the government to the president's health care law.

Shortly after midnight, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill to keep funding the government through December 15.

The measure also delays the Affordable Care Act by one year and repeals a tax on medical devices in the law, which is considered a non-starter in the Democratic-controlled Senate and in the face of President Obama's veto pen.

McConnell says the House has put the ball in the Senate's court and the American people do not want a shutdown, but don't want Obamacare either.

From McConnell's office:

"While some in the Senate Democrat leadership may think employers should get preferential treatment over individuals and families, and that repealing Obamacare's medical device tax is 'stupid,' many other Democrats have made it clear they disagree. They should be allowed to vote to protect the thousands of good American jobs the medical device tax threatens to destroy and to give the same treatment to individuals and families that the White House has already given employers. The choice for Democrat leaders is clear: either shut down the government, or listen to the American people and act."

Democrats have poked holes in this latest move, however, calling it "smoke in mirrors" given that it once again puts funding for the president's health care law.

As observers have noted, with Obamacare's implementation set to roll out on Oct. 1 it is unlikely the president will gut his signature achievement.

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Politics
12:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

In New York Times Op-Ed, Governor Steve Beshear Says Kentucky Needs Obamacare

Democratic Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

In a robust defense of Obamacare, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the state's health care needs come before the divisive partisan politics to defund the law in Washington.

The op-ed in The New York Times on Friday continues Beshear's arguments in favor of the law, which is set to be implemented beginning Oct. 1.

In Kentucky, nearly one in six are uninsured and the state ranks at the bottom of nearly every major health measure.

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Local News
5:00 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Humana Fined $65,000 Following Letters Related To Affordable Care Act

Humana Building
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Officials with the Kentucky Department of Insurance have fined Humana $65,000 after investigating complaints about a letter the company sent to policyholders.

In August, letters were sent to over 6,000 members, saying they had 30 days to renew their plans for 2014, or they would have to choose a more expensive option that complies with the Affordable Care Act.

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Politics
2:13 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Matt Bevin Praises Ted Cruz, Slams Mitch McConnell on Defunding Obamacare Fight

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin joins a rally by Tea Party activists outside Mitch McConnell's office
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

A group of Tea Party and conservative activists rallied outside of Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s Louisville office, calling for the defunding of the president’s health care law.

Joined by U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin, over a dozen demonstrators spoke in support of Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, who held a nearly 24-hour marathon talk on the Senate floor to oppose the Affordable Care Act.

But McConnell disagreed with Cruz's tactic to block a federal spending bill that takes out funding Obamacare in order to keep Senate Democrats from amending the measure.

Instead, McConnell supports having a majority vote to defund the health care law while pressuring Democrats to join the GOP caucus.

Saying the GOP establishment needs to do more those rallying in downtown Louisville took McConnell's leadership to task, however.

"I can’t understand why Mitch McConnell won’t wake up and realize that (Obama) is trying to destroy us and destroy Kentucky. He’s the mouthpiece that not only we have but he represents the Republican Party in all of the United States right now," says Dan Johnson, a bishop at Heart of Fire Church in Louisville. "And if he don’t get off of his butt and get up and do what’s right, if he has any heart for the American people he will not fund Obamcare. It's time to defund Obamacare, it's time America is heard and this needs to end today."

The tactical disagreement in the GOP has been a divisive fight that was brought more to the surface by Cruz, who implicitly criticized leaders in both parties for not heeding the public's apprehensions about the health care law.

McConnell is maintaining Republican senators are united against funding the health care law, and would much rather talk about the Democrats.

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Politics
12:34 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Urging Senate Democrats to Join Defund Obamacare Fight, McConnell Rejects Cruz's Plan

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit File photo

Speaking on the Senate floor, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell cut ties with Sen. Ted Cruz's threat to use a filibuster against a bill with language defunding the president's health care law.

Facing increasing criticism from conservative groups and a primary opponent, McConnell argued Senate Democrats need to join the effort in order to take out funding for Obamacare while avoiding a government shutdown.

"I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare," McConnell said. "All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded. And none of us want that."

The House passed a spending measure to fund the federal government past Oct. 1, but it does not pay for the Affordable Care Act.

Cruz is urging the GOP caucus to vote against that legislation because Democrats have indicated they will amend it to restore the health care law's funding. He argues any vote to bring the bill to the Senate floor is in effective supporting Obamacare as a whole.

Rather than focus on GOP infighting, McConnell proposed Democrats ought to join the effort to defund the law by having a simple majority vote on the House bill.

"Democrats have been hearing the same complaints about Obamacare the rest of us have. The spotlight should really be on them. This is a rare opportunity to defund the law with a simple majority. We should have that vote," he said.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Mitch McConnell Looks to Reclaim Anti-Obamacare Narrative from Conservative Critics

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called for a one-year delay to Obamacare for all Americans as its implementation approaches.

The move comes as public support for the president's health care law is waning, including public criticism from labor unions who call it "highly disruptive."

But McConnell's renewed push against the law is also a political calculation back home. It is an attempt to counter-punch a growing chorus of conservative activists and a primary opponent who argue the GOP leader isn't doing enough to de-fund it.

A recent CNN poll shows support for the Affordable Care Act dropped 12 point since January, with just under 40 percent saying they favor the law.

The survey found support plummeted the most among women and Americans who earn less than $50,000 annually.

McConnell says that is a sign Congress must heed, and urged lawmakers to give individuals and families a reprieve as the administration is doing for businesses.

"We need to pass a one-year delay of Obamacare for everyone. That’s what the amendment I’ve filed will do," McConnell said. "And then enact what Kentuckians and Americans really need: a full repeal of this job-killing mess of a law. And that’s just what I intend to keep fighting for."

The senator's amendment to do just that has been attached to an energy bill, and is being co-sponsored by a handful Republican senators 

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