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.
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.
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.
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.