Affordable Care Act

J. Tyler Franklin

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has unveiled the newest version of a bill to replace many provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Negotiations over the much-anticipated bill were held in private, with even some Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul criticizing the secretive process “with little time to fully evaluate the proposal.”

Paul issued a statement Thursday saying he wasn’t ready to vote in favor of the new bill because it doesn’t fully repeal Obamacare.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is slamming efforts led by Senate Majority Leader and fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

Paul said he won’t know how he will vote until the bill is released to legislators on Thursday, but he anticipates that McConnell won’t have the votes and will have to renegotiate the legislation with members of his own party.

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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

Eight protesters along a major thoroughfare in Lexington hoisted signs shaped like tombstones with sayings such as “RIP Trumpcare.” They were hoping Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr would catch a glimpse of the demonstration on their way to a press event at Valvoline headquarters down the road. Against the steady hum of streaming cars came a few honks. A middle-aged guy on a Harley gunned his bike through the intersection while laying on the horn.

“I don’t know if they are honking for us or if someone actually got in their way,” said Peter Wedlund, who is wearing a black Grim Reaper cloak.

Even in the very red Ohio Valley region a growing number of people are protesting the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Back in January, Republicans boasted they would deliver a "repeal and replace" bill for the Affordable Care Act to President Donald Trump's desk by the end of the month.

In the interim, that bravado has faded as their efforts stalled and they found out how complicated undoing a major law can be. With summer just around the corner, and most of official Washington swept up in scandals surrounding Trump, the health overhaul delays are starting to back up the rest of the 2018 agenda.

Federal lawmakers are moving ahead with a new approach to health care that includes changing the way insurers cover pre-existing health conditions.

But the American Health Care Act that House Republicans voted to advance last week could bring back a program with which some Kentuckians may be familiar: high-risk pool health insurance.

Until 2013, these high-risk pools operated in Kentucky and other states. And if the provisions of the final bill allow states to do away with coverage for pre-existing health conditions — which were made possible under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — they could be coming back.

As soon as the House approved the GOP health care bill on Thursday, Democrats were working on using it against Republicans in next year's midterm elections.

"They have this vote tattooed on them. This is a scar they carry," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared just after the American Health Care Act passed the House.

Here’s How Kentucky’s Reps Voted On The GOP Health Care Bill

May 4, 2017
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The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday afternoon to approve a Republican-led plan that would eliminate many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This marks a victory for Republican lawmakers — who have long vowed to repeal and replace President Obama’s signature health care law — and for President Trump.

With the 217-213 vote, the measure now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to undergo intense debate and major revision.

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers were forbidden from increasing costs or denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. But under the GOP replacement bill, states would be able to apply for waivers that would allow insurers to set premiums based on individuals’ medical backgrounds.

House Republicans approved their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.

Here's a rundown of key provisions in the American Health Care Act and what would happen if the Senate approves them and the bill becomes law.

Buying insurance

Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

Public schools would be in a financial pinch if Congressional Republicans are successful in changing the way Medicaid is funded.

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Act requires public schools pay for health care services for students with disabilities — including services like school nurses, speech and mental health therapists. Kentucky schools received $34 million in 2015 toward those costs. Over half of the funds came from Medicaid — the rest came from the state.

That money could be in jeopardy if the American Health Care Act – also referred to as Trumpcare – is revived. The GOP plan proposes cutting $839 billion in Medicaid spending to states over 10 years.

David Brinkley

Kentucky’s Second District Congressman thinks lawmakers will need to have a greater say in any future U.S. military action in Syria.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie said it remains to be seen if the Syrian regime will change its behavior after last week’s U.S. missile attack on an airfield. His comments come as questions are raised over the role Congress should play in approving the kinds of strikes carried out

“And I actually do think the president had the authority to do what he did the other day, but I think if we’re going to engage and move forward, it needs to have Congressional authorization,” Rep. Guthrie said. “I said that when President Obama was president, and I’ll say it now.”

When House Speaker Paul Ryan says he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act so that people can buy insurance that's right for them, and not something created in Washington, part of what he's saying is that he wants to get rid of so-called essential health benefits.

That's a list of 10 general categories of medical care that all insurance policies are required to cover under the Affordable Care Act.

Ryland Barton

President Donald Trump urged a crowd in Louisville to support the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare currently making it through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Before a crowd of around 18,000 people packed into Freedom Hall, Trump said the bill was “our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare.”

“Obamacare has been a complete and total catastrophe and it’s getting worse and worse by the day,” Trump said. “And yet you watch the fake media, the fake news, and they try and build it up. It’s a disaster, fellas.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul is not happy with the current Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The plan comes from House Speaker Paul Ryan and has the support of President Donald Trump.

Although Paul was in Louisville Monday, he is skipping President Trump’s rally in Louisville Monday night, saying he was headed back to Washington to drum up votes against the repeal plan, which is headed for a vote Thursday.

“My hope is that it fails Thursday and that’s when the true negotiation begins,” Paul said at the Louisville Chamber of Commerce Monday morning.

The GOP repeal and replace bill would do away with the ACA’s requirement that individuals have health insurance and large employers provide it.

Flickr/Creative Commons/ Lora Zibman

The new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that 24 million Americans would be without health insurance in the next 10 years if the current Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act is approved. 

Many residents of Kentucky are carefully watching to see how they might be affected. About 400,000 Kentucky residents who previously did not have health insurance gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  Robin Shank of Glasgow is one of them.

“I’m concerned about the ACA. I have a very bad heart condition. I went 25 years without medical insurance. It about broke me. The ACA saved my life," said Shank. "If they take it away, it’s going to kill me. It’s going to drive my family into bankruptcy and then I’ll die. That’s why I’m concerned.”

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