A recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll shows that a majority of Kentuckians support a statewide smoking ban.
The poll released Thursday from the non-profit Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky shows 65% of Kentucky adults favor a statewide smoke-free law. The new numbers are up six points from last year, and 17 points from four years ago.
Opponents of the measure are concerned the law would infringe on the rights of private business owners. Foundation President Susan Zepeda says the issue isn’t political and that a state ban on smoking in public areas wouldn’t end up hurting business owners.
“That question of a particular business that might not want to make the policy unilaterally, just as their own business, for fear that it would drive customers to the business down the street, but if the entire state had a smoke-free policy, it would level that playing field for all the businesses," suggests Zepeda.
Of surrounding states, only Missouri and West Virginia have no ban in place, while Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia have some form of statewide anti-smoking laws.
Democratic Representative Susan Westrom of Lexington says she will try for a third time to get a ban for Kentucky through the 2014 General Assembly session beginning this month.
The Kentucky Access program is closing to make way for the Affordable Care Act.
The 14-year-old program was created to provide affordable health coverage to high-risk Kentuckians. It's ending because of a provision in the ACA that requires insurers to provide coverage to those people regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Louisville Rep. Steve Riggs sponsored legislation that created the program in 2000. He says Kentucky Access isn't needed now that the ACA is implemented.
“It’s redundant, yeah. Duplicative. So that’s why the Department of Insurance is phasing it out, because now you can get that same type of coverage with the ACA, with Kentucky KYnect, and in many cases I understand it’s less expensive."
Kentuckians who obtained insurance through the program will now have to sign up for coverage under the state’s health insurance exchange, KYnect, before April or they will face tax penalties.
At its peak, Kentucky Access enrolled about 4,800 people.
University of Kentucky researchers are working to find out whether microbes from coal mines could help fight disease.
Soil from coal mines is analyzed at UK's Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation lab, run by Jon Thorson. Thorson said because the microbes have to work harder to survive underground, they are more competitive, meaning they may be useful in fighting illness.
The Lexington Herald-Leader says Thorson has also contacted geologist Jim Hower, who has been studying gas emissions from a fire in an abandoned underground mine near Lott's Creek in Perry County. When Thorson found out, he asked Hower about getting soil samples for the research.
Thorson's team is working with colleagues from UK's Center for Applied Energy Research and the Kentucky Geological Survey to retrieve necessary soil samples.
The deadline for Kentuckians to enroll in a health insurance plan through the state’s health exchange is just hours away.
Kentuckians will have until midnight tonight (Monday) to sign up for a new health care policy through KYnect (Connect), the state’s health insurance exchange, in order for the policy to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Those without insurance by the end of March 2014 will be assessed a tax penalty.
So far, about 100,000 of an estimated 640,000 Kentuckians without health insurance have signed up for a policy through the state exchange.
More than 440,000 Kentuckians on Medicare took advantage of free preventive treatments this year. That's according to numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. They say the patients underwent colonoscopies, mammograms, smoking cessation treatments and other services that became free under the Affordable Care Act.
Before the law took effect, patients may have had to pay hundreds of dollars for care that is meant to reduce the need for more expensive treatments later on.
Nationally, over 25 million Americans covered by Original Medicare received a free preventative service this year.
About 66,000 people who get individual health plans through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee are being notified that they must pick a new plan due to new federal regulations.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, which is the largest underwriter of individual health plans in the state, and other insurance companies have begun sending out the letters to inform clients who have policies that don't meet new federal regulations.
Roy Vaughn, vice president for Blue Cross in Tennessee, told The Tennessean that letters are going out as policies come up for renewal and the company is pointing out similar plans that meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
Vaughn said the letters are to help people choose a replacement so they don't have a lapse in coverage.
About 280,000 Kentuckians will have to trade in their current health insurance policies in the months ahead and enroll in other plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act. One Kentucky official is confident those affected will get a better deal.
Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes oversees the commonwealth’s online health exchange. She tells WKU Public Radio that those who don’t get to keep their current insurance plans will get better coverage under the federal health care law.
"There are a lot of plans out there that people claim they love and enjoy, but I assure you, the plans they can receive now are better," claims Haynes. "They're richer benefits and plans."
Haynes says some current insurance policies don’t meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which grants coverage for pre-existing conditions and expands coverage to a wide range of preventive care services.
Asked about the Obama administration’s earlier claim that people could keep their current insurance, Haynes says that’s still the case for about 96 percent of Kentuckians.
The American Cancer Society is looking to enroll 300 people from the Bowling Green area in a study. People between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are eligible to enroll.
"You fill out an initial survey when you sign up to be part of the lifestyle survey and then you get a survey every year," says Angie Geron, Community Representative for the American Cancer Society. "It asks you about your daily habits like how long you sit and stand, how much you weigh, how many hours a night you sleep, all those things we take for granted that we don't think influence our life."
American Cancer Society prevention studies began in the 1950s and have led to discoveries such as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, and the role obesity plays in the risk of several cancers.
"It's a way we can fight back for our loved ones that have been diagnosed," states Geron. "It's a way we can do something to impact the future as far as cancer research is concerned."
Enrollment for this latest study begins November 20. You can learn more information by clicking here.