health

The insurance program that provides health insurance to almost a third of Kentuckians — Medicaid — will soon change. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is awaiting approval from the federal government on his proposed reforms. But even if Bevin gets everything he asked for, Medicaid providers and advocates say there are still a lot of unknowns to how Kentucky will manage the program.

In Kentucky, Medicaid used to just cover pregnant women, children or people who were disabled or living in poverty. Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, former Governor Steve Beshear expanded the insurance program to include people living outside of poverty – up to about $33,000 a year for a family of four. The program now covers about a third of Kentuckians, many of whom got on Medicaid through the expansion.

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Despite numerous failed legislative attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is rolling out regulatory changes that are likely to clear the way for Kentucky’s plan to remake its Medicaid system.

At a National Association of Medicaid Directors conference in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday, Trump administration official Seema Verma said the government will give states more freedom over their Medicaid programs, including allowing states to require Medicaid enrollees to work or volunteer to keep their coverage.

WalletHub

A new study shows Kentucky is the sixth fattest state in the nation. The study by WalletHub examines three areas--the number of obese and overweight people in each state; health consequences; and food and fitness. Kentucky ranked fifth for the highest percentage of adults with type two diabetes. The Commonwealth also ranked in the top five with the highest percentage of physically inactive adults.

Tennessee is the third fattest state in the nation and Indiana ranked tenth. WalletHub used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit against opioid maker Endo Pharmaceuticals for pushing a highly addictive drug on doctors in Kentucky and contributing to the opioid crisis. In 2016, more than 190 Kentuckians overdosed on Opana ER — the extended release version of the pain medication manufactured by Endo.

“Endo put its own profits ahead of public health and patient safety,” Beshear said in a press conference on Monday. “And rather than help limit the opioid epidemic by reporting potential diversion through illicit prescribing, as it is obligated to do on under federal and state law, Endo looked the other way.”

Mary Meehan

Hundreds of kids scurrying to buses are oblivious to a sign above them declaring Bourbon County High School “100 percent Tobacco Free.” But upstairs in the library, sophomore and anti-smoking advocate Jacob Steward unfurls a six-foot scroll with earth-toned papers trapped between clear sheets of laminate. He begins reading the anti-smoking slogans he’ll post around the school.

“E-cigs pose threat to health and turn kids into addicts and gives big tobacco your money,” he said. “E-cigs, neither water, vapor or harmless.”


Reports of child abuse and neglect in Kentucky have increased by about 55 percent in the past four years. A child is at higher risk for developing a substance abuse problem is they’ve suffered from an adverse childhood experience. That can be the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem.

 

Pam Darnall is CEO of Family and Children’s Place. She said some organizations that support children and families are struggling just to stay in business.

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Kentucky’s children have experienced--on average-- more Adverse Childhood Experiences than children nationwide.

An Adverse Childhood Experience, or ACE, can be the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem.

 

According to a recent report from The National Survey of Children’s Health, about 53 percent of children in Kentucky have had at least one ACE. That’s significantly higher than the national rate of about 46 percent. The report adds those experiences can increase the risk of smoking, alcoholism, depression and other illnesses or unhealthy behaviors.

Tightening the screws on pricey imaging exams, health insurer Anthem will no longer allow many patients to get MRI or CT scans at hospital-owned outpatient facilities, requiring them to use independent imaging centers instead. The insurer began phasing in these changes in July and expects to finish by March.

Anthem says the change is aimed at providing high-quality, safe care while reducing medical costs.

Kentucky Leaders Respond After GOP Pulls ACA Repeal

Sep 26, 2017
NPR

The latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act has failed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday announced he is pulling the Republican health care bill.

The Graham-Cassidy bill would have eliminated the mandate that people buy insurance or pay a fine. It also would have done away with subsidies that help people purchase insurance and it would have scrapped the national exchange, Healthcare.gov.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

Republicans are once again waving the white flag on health care.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he is pulling the Republican health care bill because it does not have the votes.

Rather than endure another embarrassing vote that sees his caucus come up short, the senators agreed in a closed-door meeting to shelve the bill.

The latest Republican push to repeal key parts of the Affordable Care Act appears to have met the fate of all previous Senate repeal efforts this year — it doesn't have the votes needed to pass the chamber.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins announced Monday that she will oppose the bill, authored by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy. Collins' decision means three Republicans have now publicly said they are against the bill — and that is one more than the GOP could afford to lose.

Senate Republicans' latest plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system ends with a massive shift of federal money from states that expanded Medicaid — and are largely dominated by Democrats — to those that refused to expand.

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A Kentucky judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban on marijuana for medical purposes.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate recognized in a ruling Wednesday that marijuana has the potential for medicinal use. But he said the three people who filed the lawsuit do not have a constitutional right to violate a controlled-substance law.

Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana in some way, the most common being for medical purposes. Kentucky lawmakers have failed to consider proposals to do so. In 2014, the legislature allowed the limited prescription of cannabidiol, which comes from the cannabis plant.

Republicans' complex health care calculations are coming down to simple math.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for a bill that aims to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and drastically reshape the Medicaid system. McConnell's office is planning to bring the bill up for a vote next week.

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A new program is aimed at making it easier for Owensboro residents to quit smoking. The plan will provide nicotine supplies for free to those interested.

The Green River District Health Department is in charge of the program and is responsible for giving out supplies. The Messenger-Inquirer reports up to eight weeks of nicotine patches, gum or lozenges will be given to those who sign up for the smoking cessation program through the website Quit Now Kentucky.

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