Affordable Care Act

A new political group will hit the airwaves just after the Kentucky Derby to oppose the federal healthcare law.

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition will run ads attacking the Affordable Care Act. They've declined to release the spot early, but have hinted that it will feature various voices calling the law a train wreck.

The KOC is run by three area women, Kristen Webb and  Bridget Bush of Louisville and Karen Sellers of Paintsville. The group is being advised by Scott Jennings, a longtime ally of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. Jennings is also running a separate Super PAC aimed at helping re-elect McConnell. 

Even though the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional, it still faces opposition from Republicans who hope to repeal it.

Tennessee Senate Republicans are proposing legislation that seeks to prevent expansion of the state Medicaid program under provisions of President Obama's health care law.

The measure, called "TennCare Fiscal Responsibility Act", was filed Thursday by Senator Brian Kelsey of Germantown and has 15 Senate co-sponsors. A similar version of the proposal was filed last week in the House. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to opt out of Medicaid expansion without losing pre-existing federal Medicaid funding.

One lesser-known aspect of the Affordable Care Act is it’s reliance on state health cooperatives —  which work separate of the state- or federally run health exchange, but are free to offer their own brand of insurance on the exchange.

But recent Congressional deal-making is putting those co-ops in danger.

While states are getting grants to fund their exchanges, co-ops were getting federal loans which had to be paid back within five years.

But the Washington Post reports that the fiscal cliff deal struck weeks ago kills off the co-op loan program for many states. But because of early planning, the Kentucky Health Cooperative isn’t in any funding danger, spokesman Jim McHanie says.

“Our funding is in place and we’re moving right ahead in fact we’re in the start-up phase of development and we plan to start offering coverage effective January 1, 2014,” he says.

State Sen. Julie Denton has filed two bills that would put control of implementation of the Affordable Care Act into lawmakers’ hands.

Gov. Steve Beshear created a state-run health exchange through an executive order and is mulling whether to expand Medicaid. Both are parts of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

Denton says her goal is to let lawmakers have some say in either matter.

“Well all those pieces of legislation will do is say that only by the authority of the General Assembly can we expand our Medicaid program or can we set up the health benefit exchanges,” she says.

But House Speaker Greg Stumbo says his chamber will likely ignore Denton’s bills.

And the governor says he’s not worried about them either.

As the 2013 Kentucky legislative session begins, Tea Party activists are encouraging lawmakers to abandon the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — in the state because of fiscal and health care concerns.

About 50 activists rallied in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday; they wanted their state legislators to hear their concerns as the 2013 legislative session began.

Kentucky can’t afford running its own health exchanges  or to expand Medicaid, argued David Adams, a rally organizer.

“It doesn’t take a forensic accountant to look at our fiscal situation and realize that we have no business getting into this sandbox whatsoever,” Adams says.

Kentucky Tea Party activists are carrying their fight against the Affordable Care Act into the new year.

Before the first gavel of the session Tuesday, Tea Party activists plan to rally in the Capitol Rotunda against the ACA.

It’s the second capital rally against the law, which Kentucky has actively worked to implement under an executive order from Governor Steve Beshear.

Rally organizer and activist David Adams says the goal of the event is to convince lawmakers to pass a measure overturning Beshear’s order.

The Speaker of the Kentucky House says it’s a no-brainer for Kentucky to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

Under the health care law, states can expanded their Medicaid rolls to 138 percent of the poverty line, with the federal government picking up the tab for three years. 

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has yet to decide whether Kentucky will expand, saying he will calculate costs after 2017, when the feds pay only 90 percent of the expansion.

But Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he's encouraging Beshear to commit to Medicaid expansion now.

“I think it would be a penny wise and a pound foolish not to find the money,” Stumbo says.

Despite progress toward building a state-run health insurance exchange in Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear will likely have to re-issue an executive order to keep it alive.

Beshear issued an order creating the exchange earlier this year, after the Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. And it’s a goal of state health officials to get the exchange protected under a law, rather than an executive order.

But Republican State Senator Tom Buford says his colleagues aren’t likely to support an exchange law.

“Probably not, in my opinion, we will probably allow the Governor to re-order the executive order again," said Buford.

After months building a state-based health exchange, Kentucky officials have been told that the federal government has given approval to their work.

Despite objections from Republican lawmakers, Kentucky officials quickly began working on a state-based exchange --- a part of the Affordable Care Act.

Many states surrounding Kentucky are opting for a federal-run exchange or haven’t yet made a decision.

As Kentucky officials continue to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, doctors are preparing for a rush of new patients in every sector of the health care industry. Seven Counties Services CEO Tony Zipple says at least 25 percent of uninsured Americans have behavioral issues that need attention. And once the Affordable Care Act takes effect, he's expecting to see a flood of newly-insured patients seeking treatments.

A progressive economic group says Kentucky should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act based on recently release Census data. The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy points to data that shows the percentage of Kentuckians without insurance dropped last year based on early elements of the health care law.

A new Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll shows a near majority of Kentuckians oppose President Obama’s health care law, with a clear majority against the mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. But that same poll indicates overwhelming support for several key parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville says his party dropped the ball on promoting the Affordable Care Act. Yarmuth is one of the few public officials in Kentucky who has supported the health care law, and he actively defends it from criticism. But he says his fellow Democrats could have done a better job explaining the legislation.

Kentucky's two U.S. Senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, are some of the most vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act. The two co-headlined a Tea Party rally in Frankfort Tuesday to protest the health care law. During the rally, Paul said he wants to not only repeal the law, but replace it with a different one.

Kentucky’s two U.S. Senators say they both want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but wouldn’t elaborate on reforms to replace the measure. The senators headlined a Tea Party rally held today in Frankfort.

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