health

President Trump did not do much to sell the Senate health care bill before its failure. But he gave the sale a shot Wednesday in the White House before cameras and a captive audience of nearly all the Republican senators. His comments were at times confusing, and in some cases, outright incorrect.

It shows the challenge for a president who doesn't dive deeply into policy to sell his agenda.

Crumbling Health Bill Dents McConnell Image as Top Tactician

Jul 19, 2017
NPR

When the banner Republican effort to scuttle and rewrite President Barack Obama's health care law crumbled this week, the falling debris popped a hefty dent into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's image as a dauntless legislative tactician three chess moves ahead of everyone else.

His two attempts to craft legislation replacing Obama's law have collapsed for lack of GOP support. Republican opposition seems likely to doom a vote next week on his Plan C, a bill simply repealing much of Obama's statute.

President Trump has summoned all Senate Republicans to the White House on Wednesday for a debrief on the state of health care legislation effort in their chamber. Based on the week so far, the meeting may be more like a post mortem.

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Medicaid advocates, family members and policy experts gathered in Frankfort Monday to weigh in on proposed changes to the state-run insurance program for low-income and disabled people.

Kentucky’s Medicaid program was expanded by former Gov. Steve Beshear under the Affordable Care Act. But current Gov. Matt Bevin has said the costs associated with the program aren’t sustainable, and is asking the federal government to approve a plan to scale it back.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

The defeat of the GOP Senate health care bill is a major blow to all Republicans involved.

President Trump, whose approval rating is lower than any recent president this early in his term, is now staring at an agenda imperiled. Despite his boasts, he has achieved little of significance through Congress. That failure is compounded by the fact that his party controls both chambers.

The Senate will postpone its consideration of the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act until Sen. John McCain returns to Washington.

The Republican senator from Arizona is recovering from brain surgery performed Friday to remove a nearly 2-inch blood clot from above his left eye. The surgery was described as a "minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision."

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The first of two public hearings seeking input on Governor Bevin’s Medicaid waiver was held Friday in Somerset.

Governor Bevin wants to overhaul the Medicaid program, in hopes of moving more people to private insurance coverage. Bevin said Kentucky can’t afford to pay for everyone that gained coverage when Medicaid was expanded.

 

The new plan calls for Medicaid recipients to pay premiums of up to $15 a month. Beneficiaries would be required to work or volunteer for 20 hours a week in order to keep their benefits. Those requirements don’t apply to everyone.

Study Sheds Light On Antidepressants And Pregnancy

Jul 14, 2017
John Ted Dagatano

For a lot of pregnant woman, there are difficult choices to make as they weigh their own health and well-being against that of their unborn child. There’s been conflicting information about whether commonly-prescribed medications like antidepressants, which many people rely upon, can cause harm to the fetus.

Now, a new study says pregnant women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are not putting their child at risk for intellectual disability. The study, which was published today in JAMA Psychiatry, looked at more than 179,000 children, half of whom had mothers who had taken antidepressants while they were pregnant. And the researchers didn’t find any connections between the child’s future mental challenges and the mother’s medication use.

Ryland Barton

As Vice President Mike Pence prepared for an event in Lexington today at a party supply center, a small crowd gathered outside. Kimberley Spencer works at an elementary school cafeteria in Lexington and showed up to protest the event.

Pence was in town to rally support for Republican efforts to scale back the Affordable Care Act, and meet with small businesses he says were harmed by the law. In Spencer’s opinion, Kentucky supporters of President Donald Trump are working against the best interests of poor people in the state.

The next few days will be critical for Senate Republicans' effort to repeal and replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will release a new version of the bill Thursday, and aims to hold a key vote on it early next week.

If that process fails, McConnell has floated the idea of working with Democrats on a bipartisan measure. "No action is not an alternative," he said in Kentucky during the July 4th recess. "We've got the insurance markets imploding all over the country."

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Lexington Wednesday as part of the White House’s campaign to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

According to a news release, Pence will participate in a listening session with business leaders who say they’ve been hurt by Obamacare and then hold an invite-only event at Bryant’s Rent-All, an equipment rental company.

The event comes as Kentucky has once again become a key battleground in the fight over the health care law.

McConnell Says He'll Rework Health Bill, But Offers Plan B

Jul 7, 2017
NPR

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans to produce a fresh bill in about a week scuttling and replacing much of President Barack Obama's health care law. But he's also acknowledging a Plan B if that effort continues to flounder.

"If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur," McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday. It was one of his most explicit concessions that a top priority for President Donald Trump and the entire GOP, erasing much of Obama's landmark 2010 statute, might fall short.

There's a lot of talk on Capitol Hill about the tax cuts included in the Republican health plans, but unless you are a frequent user of tanning beds or have personal wealth that puts you in the top 1 percent, you might not feel much effect.

The House and Senate bills both change or eliminate more than a dozen taxes that were levied to help pay for the Affordable Care Act's insurance subsidies and to bolster Medicare and expand Medicaid. Republicans and other ACA critics have argued that the taxes are onerous for businesses and families.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Ed Schipul

Kentucky smokers now have greater access to resources that can help them kick the habit.

A new state law now in effect requires insurance coverage of all forms of tobacco cessation services recommended by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. That includes smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling, group health education, and federally approved anti-smoking medications.

Adam Haley, Director of Public Policy for the Kentucky Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, says the changes present a great opportunity for more smokers to get help.

Medicaid Changes Could Save Money; Others to Lose Benefits

Jul 4, 2017
Creative Commons

Proposed changes to Kentucky's Medicaid program could cost another 9,000 vulnerable people their health coverage while possibly saving taxpayers an extra $27 million.

Those are both projections for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's updated plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid program, the joint federal and state health coverage program for the poor and the disabled.

Bevin asked the federal government last year for permission to overhaul the program. Monday, Bevin updated that proposal. State officials estimate the changes would increase taxpayer savings to $358 million by 2021. But it means a total of 95,000 people —9,000 more than originally proposed_would likely lose their Medicaid coverage in a mostly poor, rural state where more than a quarter of the population relies on the taxpayer-funded program to pay for their health care.

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