Fuse/Getty Images

A new report finds doctors in Kentucky diagnosed more cases of opioid addiction for people with private insurance than any other state in 2016.

 

The report is by Amino, a health-care transparency company that aims to estimate the costs of care. The Courier-Journal reports 23 of every 1,000 Kentuckians were diagnosed with an opioid use disorder in 2016. Nationally, 1.4 million privately insured patients were diagnosed with opioid use disorder--that’s six times more than in 2012.

GOP's Health Care Rollback Collides with the Opioid Epidemic

Jun 20, 2017
Flickr/Creative Commons/Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

The Republican campaign to roll back former President Barack Obama's health care law is colliding with the opioid epidemic. Medicaid cutbacks would hit hard in states deeply affected by the addiction crisis and struggling to turn the corner, according to state data and concerned lawmakers in both parties.

The central issue is that the House health care bill would phase out expanded Medicaid, which allows states to provide federally backed insurance to low-income adults previously not eligible. Many people in that demographic are in their 20s and 30s and dealing with opioid addiction. Dollars from Washington have allowed states to boost their response to the crisis, paying for medication, counseling, therapy and other services.

Kentucky Supreme Court to Hear U of L Case in August

Jun 20, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing in a lawsuit pitting the Republican governor against the state's Democratic attorney general.

The court will hear arguments on Aug. 18 about whether Gov. Matt Bevin has the authority to abolish and replace the boards of trustees at public universities.

Last year, Bevin abolished the board of trustees at the University of Louisville and replaced it with a new board. Attorney General Andy Beshear sued, arguing Bevin's order was illegal. A state judge agreed with him, and Bevin appealed.

Although President Trump has had a troubled relationship with big commercial lenders over the years, financial disclosure forms filed recently suggest he is still able to borrow money when he needs it.

While Trump's debts appear to be easily outweighed by his assets, government ethics experts say any sizable debt represents a potential conflict of interest for a president.

Wikimedia Commons

If Republicans in Congress move forward with their plan to replace Obamacare, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's ideas for the future of the program could also go up in smoke.

About 440,000 people were added to the state’s Medicaid rolls as a result of former Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order to expand the program in 2013, making more people eligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.


Mary Meehan

The coordinator of a needle exchange program in Bowling Green is hoping other southern Kentucky counties will start similar efforts.

The Barren River District Health Department started the anonymous needle exchange program nine months ago in hopes of combating the spread of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis-C.

From January 2014 to April 2016, the region saw more than 600 cases of Hepatitis-C. The health department’s Public Health Services Coordinator, Chip Krause, says it’s too early to know if the district has seen a decrease in the spread of disease, but he says those who use the needle exchange program are five times more likely to enter a treatment program.

Roxy Todd

“I’d love to be able to stay here,” said 32-year-old West Virginian Mark Combs. “The people are great. But it’s just dying. If you want to succeed you’ve gotta leave.”

Mark is an actor and an Iraqi war veteran. He thinks there has to be a better life, or at least better economic opportunities, elsewhere. He decided to head west for Los Angeles.

“I think the job market is so much larger out there than what it is here that jobs are going to be really easy to come by,” he said before he set out.

public domain

Kentucky and other Medicaid expansion states are seeing an increase in overall emergency room visits.

Still, fewer uninsured people are going to the ER under the Affordable Care Act.

In 2014, states with expanded Medicaid access saw an 8.8 percent increase in the share of ER visits covered by Medicaid, according to a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. The share of visits by those without insurance decreased by 5.3 percent. Those with private insurance remained the same in expansion states.

WFPL

Ahead of a large planned protest outside the EMW Women’s Surgical Center downtown, the Metro Council will continue debating the creation of a buffer zone that would block protesters from coming into close contact with women entering for abortions and their escorts.

Other cities such as Chicago, Portland, San Francisco and Phoenix have buffer zones, which usually include an 8-to-15-foot zone protesters are barred from entering. Three cities have bubble zones, which include several feet of space around a clinic patient, provider or escort walking patients inside.

Vanderburgh Humane Society

The city of Evansville is considering allowing potbellied pigs as pets. 

The city's Animal Control and Education Commission has reviewed a proposed ordinance that would add the pigs to the list of pets allowed with a license.

The Courier and Press reports the commission is recommending that the permit price to keep one of the pigs be set at $100. That fee is comparable to the permit required to  own six or more dogs. 

The Evansville City Council will review the proposed ordinance on June 26.

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LRS LIVE Replay: Kelsey Waldon & The Dead Broke Barons

Americana artist Kelsey Waldon and Franklin's own Dead Broke Barons were the featured artists on April 20th for Lost River Sessions LIVE! at the Capitol Arts Center in downtown Bowling Green. Both bands have appeared on the TV version of Lost River Sessions, but the live concert gave the audience a chance to see these bands in person.

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