The Affordable Care Act in Kentucky

We're tracking how the Affordable Care Act will affect Kentuckians as it's implemented in the coming months and years. 

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Local News
3:04 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Indiana, School Districts Sue IRS Over Obamacare's Employer Mandate

Credit Shutterstock

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana and 15 public school districts are suing the Internal Revenue Service for allegedly overstepping its authority in imposing "employer mandate" regulations on state and local governments under the federal health care overhaul.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Indianapolis contends the IRS is improperly treating Indiana as a taxable entity under the Affordable Care Act with regulations that impose financial penalties on state and local governments, including school districts.

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Politics
10:57 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Senators Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul Say Kentucky Not Buying Obamacare

U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (l) and Rand Paul (r)
Credit U.S. Senate

In a rebuttal to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's editorial praising the Affordable Care Act, Republican U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul argue Kentucky isn't buying into the president's health care law.

The health exchange dubbed Kynect launched on Tuesday allowing residents to shop for an insurance plan as part of the federal law, better known as Obamacare.

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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

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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
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
11:06 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Matt Bevin Calls on Republican Leaders Not to Retreat on Defunding Obamacare

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin
Credit mail.com

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin is criticizing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for not taking the lead on de-funding President Obama's health care law.

The pressure comes a day after Boehner told House Republicans he does not support threats to shut down the federal government over Obamacare.

In an earlier letter signed by 80 GOP House members, including Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., conservative lawmakers urged House leadership to reject any spending bill that funds the new health care law.

Bevin has been appealing to Kentucky conservatives in his bid against McConnell in next year's primary election that this is another example of McConnell not doing enough to stand up against the president.

"As the leader of the Republican Party, Sen. McConnell should be leading the charge to de-fund Obamacare not retreating with his tail between his legs," says Bevin. "Kentucky voters have a right to know: Will Mitch McConnell join Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz in fighting for taxpayers or will he join Speaker Boehner in caving to President Obama?"

But just this week, Paul stood with McConnell in Kentucky to say shutting down the federal government over Obamacare was a "dumb idea."

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Local News
3:36 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Kentucky Health Insurance Exchange Call Center Opens

A call center for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Office has opened in Lexington.  

Sixty agents are on hand to answer questions about coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.  

“We have over 640,000 people today in Kentucky that don’t have health insurance and we’ll be able to cover most of those folks through the Medicaid expansion as well as premium assistance that will be available through the exchange,” said exchange director Carrie Banahan

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Politics
8:13 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Congressional Report Shows Obamacare Benefits to Kentucky Districts

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The House voted on Wednesday to delay two key components of President Obama's health care law after the White House announced it was postponing an important mandate.

This represents the thirty-eighth time the Republican majority has moved to either repeal, de-fund or curtail the Affordable Care Act since taking control of the House in 2011.

In a bipartisan 264-161 vote, Congress codifies a decision made by the Obama administration earlier this month to give companies a one-year reprieve. But the GOP leadership took that a step further and held a vote to postpone the individual mandate, which passed by a 251-174 vote.

"From the very beginning it was clear that this one-size-fits-all law was the wrong approach to addressing our nation’s health care woes.  I still believe that repeal of this devastating law is needed, but until then we need to ensure that American families aren’t punished while the administration gives big businesses a break," says Congressman Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., adding the law is a "train wreck."

Obamcare certainly remains a political punching bag for Republican congressmen and senators in Kentucky, but Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who represents Louisville and voted for the law, continues to speak up for its benefits since passage.

Yarmuth's office released data on Wednesday from the House Energy & Commerce Committee showing a district-by-district breakdown what the law is doing in Kentucky.

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Politics
12:22 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Kentucky, Indiana Lawmakers Pleased But Remain Critical of Obamacare Employer Mandate Delay

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Federal lawmakers from Kentucky and Indiana are pleased with the Obama administration's decision to delay the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans argue this shows the overhaul should be repealed.

Under the law, U.S. businesses with over 50 employees must provide health insurance to their workers and was widely criticized by companies and GOP lawmakers. The mandate was scheduled to begin in 2014, but a post from the White House blog said after ongoing discussions with businesses, it will be implemented on January 1, 2015 instead.

Senators Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,, who has been a constant critic of the law, and Dan Coats, R-In., both issued statements jeering the White House's announcement as a sign the president's health care law is too costly.

Political observers quickly pointed to the decision being pushed back until after next year's mid-term elections, where it was expected to be a theme to help turnout GOP voters.

Republican Andy Barr is a freshman congressman who represents central Kentucky and ran heavily against the health care law in 2012. He says the announcement is an important temporary relief, but an acknowledgement that the Affordable Care Act— also known as Obamacare—is a "train wreck" overall.

"This a good decision for American employers and employees who are facing very costly mandates. And so while this is an important step forward we need to continue to fight to fully repeal Obamacare so that it doesn't continue to have the threat of  killing jobs," he says.

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