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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.

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Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth is asking the federal Department of Health and Human Services for an update on Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s Medicaid expansion changes.

Yarmuth wrote the letter Thursday.

Last August, Bevin proposed several changes for Kentuckians on Medicaid — both those that got their insurance through the Medicaid expansion and make up to 138 percent of the poverty level, and traditional Medicaid enrollees, which includes people living in poverty.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Gov. Matt Bevin can’t repeal a 1 percent tax he said was one reason to dismantle the state health insurance exchange before he was elected in 2015. So he’s planning to work with the legislature next session to remove the tax, which funded the now-defunct Kynect.

The tax was created to initially fund Kentucky’s high risk insurance pool back in 2000. When former governor Steve Beshear decided to go on its own to create Kynect under the Affordable Care Act, the tax then went to pay for its creation and maintenance.

Kentucky Supplier Recalls More than 22,000 Pounds of Beef

Jun 6, 2017
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a Kentucky-based food distributor has issued a recall on more than 22,000 pounds of ground beef and other beef products due to possible E. coli bacteria contamination.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service says the Creation Gardens Inc. products subject to the recall were shipped to food service locations in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

The department says the problem was discovered Monday when plant management at the Louisville-based company notified Food Safety and Inspection Service officials of positive test results for E.coli.

Republicans are running way behind schedule.

In the dream scenario outlined by party leaders back in January, President Trump would have signed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, months ago. By early June, Republicans were supposed to be in the thick of overhauling the tax code.

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More than 67,000 seniors in Kentucky are receiving letters this month advertising prescription drug and medical care savings programs from the Social Security Administration. And while financial fraud targeting older Americans is growing – it costs around $2.9 billion a year – these letters are the real deal.

The Social Security Administration letter explains a prescription drug and medical care savings program. But it leads with an exclamation that, frankly, can seem a little scammy: “You May Be Able To Save $1,608 Or More In Medicare Costs!”

Enough seniors thought it was a scam that earlier this week, the National Council on Aging put out a notice that this letter is, in fact, real. The Medicare Savings Program helps seniors pay for hospital and doctor’s office costs. Then there’s another program that helps pay for prescription drugs.

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There’s been a big demand for primary care doctors in the past 10 years, and that need will only grow over the next decade. That’s according to new findings from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The report, out last week, cites a rapidly aging population and an increase in the number of people who have health insurance as reasons for the growing demand. Lyndon Pryor, with the Louisville Urban League, says the impact of that demand is already being felt.

It’s common, Pryor says, for Louisville residents to visit the Urban League’s community health program with the complaint of not being able to see a doctor. He says they also hear complaints from people about long wait times for appointments and providers that can’t help with chronic conditions.


Jeanna Glisson

Jeanna Glisson has two lives: her life before August 20th, 2007, and her life after. That day is so vivid, Glisson can still hear the sounds of her son’s feet coming down the stairs.

“I remember Derek when he got up that morning, he was on the phone talking to my dad. He was excited,” Glisson said.

It was the first day of harvest at Swift Farms in Murray, Kentucky, and Derek couldn’t wait to get to the corn fields. Glisson remembers it feeling like the hottest day of the year. It was a Monday, she said.

“He looked forward to it. I remember him getting in the shower. And then after that...” Her voice trails off. She remembers that the phone rang. It was her brother. Derek had been hurt. Before Glisson or any of the emergency responders could get to the farm, it was too late.

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.

Addiction experts are up in arms over remarks by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in which he referred to medication-assisted treatment for addiction as "substituting one opioid for another."

Nearly 700 researchers and practitioners sent a letter Monday communicating their criticisms to Price and urging him to "set the record straight."

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

A new study showed eight counties in Kentucky have seen the largest decline of life expectancy in the nation over a 34-year period.

Those counties are concentrated in southeastern Kentucky. Owsley County saw the largest drop in life expectancy in the nation, with people living 2.3 less years in 2014 than they did in 1980. The study attributed the decline to poverty, obesity, smoking and a lack of access to health care.

 

Owsley County Judge-Executive, Cale Turner, wasn’t surprised by the findings. He pointed to drug abuse and a historic lack of access to health care to explain the study’s results. The other Kentucky counties that saw huge declines in life expectancy are Lee, Leslie, Breathitt, Clay, Powell, Estill, and Perry.

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

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