Social Services – Bluegrass Politics Covering Kentucky politics and government Wed, 31 May 2017 18:26:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Kentucky shows deep drop in uninsured adults under federal health law Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:54:25 +0000 Gov. Steve Beshear delivers his 2014 State of the Commonwealth speech on Jan. 7, 2014, in Frankfort. Photo by Mark Cornelison | StaffBy Jack Brammer The percentage of adults without health insurance in Kentucky has dropped to less than 12 percent, the second largest decline among the states since the federal Affordable Care Act took effect in January, a new poll shows. Kentucky’s uninsured rate dropped from 20.4 percent last year to 11.9 percent halfway through 2014, a decline of 8.5 percentage points, according to a Gallup Poll released this week. Only Arkansas saw a larger decline. “From day one, Kentuckians swarmed our exchange, kynect, eager to gain health insurance coverage, some for the very first time in their lives,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement Wednesday touting the new poll. “To see this steep decline in the uninsured rate in such a short period of time reaffirms that kynect is working and we made the right decision for the health and well-being of our citizens.” President Barack Obama and others have hailed kynect as a national model since it was launched Oct. 1. At the close of open enrollment on April 15, more than 413,000 Kentuckians had enrolled in health care coverage through kynect. The majority received Medicaid, the government-funded insurance program for the poor and disabled, but more than 82,000 purchased a private insurance plan. Of those, the state said 74 percent qualified for some level of financial assistance to help with their premium costs. Surveys of kynect enrollees revealed that about 75 percent of applicants who signed up during the initial open enrollment period reported they did not have health insurance prior to signing up for coverage through kynect. As of July 31, more than 521,000 Kentuckians had enrolled in health care coverage through kynect, Beshear said. Individuals who qualify for Medicaid may visit kynect to enroll in coverage at any time. Only those individuals who experience a qualifying event, such as the loss of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, may purchase a private health insurance plan outside of the open enrollment period. The next open enrollment period begins Nov. 15, for coverage effective Jan. 1. Gallup’s poll is the first nationwide survey of the uninsured in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Results were based on telephone interviews with a random sample of more than 178,000 adult Americans.]]> Lawmakers strike deal on state budget, but Rupp Arena out of luck Sun, 30 Mar 2014 11:30:09 +0000 State Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester By John Cheves FRANKFORT -- Top Kentucky lawmakers emerged from a closed room about 5:30 a.m. Sunday to announce they had reached a deal on a $20.3 billion, two-year state budget that does not provide major money for a proposed renovation of Rupp Arena. "I think it's responsible. It makes a pretty significant and strong statement toward education," Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, told reporters after the conclusion of an 18-hour negotiating session between House and Senate leaders. One high-profile casualty was the $65 million in bonds Gov. Steve Beshear proposed in January for the renovation of Rupp Arena and the attached convention center in Lexington. Instead, the state budget will include "a small sum," to be matched with local funds, so Lexington can move ahead with more planning, engineering and programming on the project, Stivers said. If Lexington publicly produces a formal financing plan for the Rupp Arena renovation and a signed lease agreement with the University of Kentucky, which uses the venue for its men's basketball games, then it can return for more money in the 2015 legislative session, Stivers said. "There are mechanisms in place for it to go forward," Stivers said. greg-stumbo-3Some lawmakers on the budget conference committee said they were unimpressed by a personal appeal Lexington Mayor Jim Gray made for Rupp Arena funding on Saturday. Gray said UK has not yet signed a future lease deal for the arena, and he said he could not publicly disclose the proposed terms of UK's next lease or his own plan to pay for the renovation project. State Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, said she believes Gray did the best he could Saturday fielding queries from lawmakers. "There are some very good questions about the plan that right now the mayor simply cannot answer," Flood said Sunday afternoon. "I sense right now that the Senate really does want to keep the project moving forward, but they want more assurances about how the financing would work. If he (Gray) can come back, even in our next session (in 2015), having rolled out a formal financial plan, there could be some more help then. I don't think it would have to wait until our next budget in 2016." Gray had not seen details of the budget agreement as of early Sunday afternoon, said spokeswoman Susan Straub. "We need to see it and make sure we understand it before we comment on it," Straub said. Gray also has asked lawmakers to let Lexington raise its hotel and motel tax from 6 percent to 8.5 percent, which would yield about $3.5 million a year for the $328 million reinvention of Rupp. That proposal, which is not part of the state budget, appears to face an uphill battle in the Senate during the final days of this year's legislative session. House and Senate leaders, who spent the night cloistered in a committee room of the Capitol Annex, reached a consenusus on hundreds of differences in their proposed budgets. Most were relatively minor, but some involved huge sums of money or made significant changes to state policy, including:]]> Court refuses to block Kentucky Spirit from ending Medicaid contract on Friday Mon, 01 Jul 2013 18:18:24 +0000 Judge: State must explain why it removed info from child abuse case files Tue, 11 Jun 2013 02:25:51 +0000 Commissioner of state health agency replaced abruptly Thu, 06 Jun 2013 22:35:08 +0000 Judge rules Kentucky Spirit can’t pull out of Medicaid contract a year early Fri, 31 May 2013 21:06:12 +0000 Kentucky Spirit must pay health departments $7.9 million Tue, 28 May 2013 20:34:57 +0000 Grandparents urge state to reconsider cuts to child care assistance programs Tue, 21 May 2013 22:50:38 +0000 Judge rules cabinet has 30 days to comply with Open Records law Thu, 09 May 2013 21:08:42 +0000 Senate approves panel to review child abuse deaths; final passage likely Fri, 08 Mar 2013 05:09:05 +0000