GRAHAM-CASSIDY REPEAL BILL DEADLINE:

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Kentucky

OK, they aren't separating out new QHP enrollments from renewals, but whatever; the numbers are very good either way:

4,107 individuals have newly enrolled or renewed their enrollment in a qualified health plan.

735 individuals have enrolled in Medicaid

First, that QHP number is excellent.

As for the Medicaid number, it looks rather low. On the other hand, KY has probably already enrolled just about everyone in the state who qualifies for the ACA expansion program, so perhaps not...there may just not be that many more to add at this point!

On the other hand, according to their Twitter feed....

During #kynect's 2nd Open Enrollment, 4k+new accounts created; 15k+ applications submitted; over 4k enrolled in QHPs & 16k+ in Medicaid.

— kynectky (@kynectky) November 21, 2014

Hmmmm....kind of a big gap from "735" to "over 16,000"...will update as necessary, but will plug in 735 for the moment...

OK, here we go...thanks to Bob Herman for helping me break out the "2,200 enrolled" figure from his article at Modern Healthcare by providing a link to the KY government press release:

The first weekend of kynect’s second annual open enrollment period showed brisk interest, as reflected by statistics current as of 4 p.m. today:

More state exchange numbers are starting to trickle in...

The state Cabinet for Health and Human Services said in a release that as of 4 p.m. Saturday, there had been 6,200 unique visitors to the Kynect Web site; 2,415 calls handled by the Kynect contact center; 504 applications submitted; and 368 individuals who had newly enrolled in a qualified health plan.

In addition, 70 visitors to the Kynect store at Fayette Mall in Lexington had completed 33 applications for new coverage.

The "newly enrolled" is important as well, to distinguish it from current enrollees renewing their policies. Hopefully all of the exchanges will be sure to clarify this, but...

Yesterday I posted a whole slew of state-level QHP attrition rates, comparing the number of people currently enrolled in private exchange-based healthcare policies against the official number from back in April.

The numbers ranged from as poor as Florida losing 12% of their enrollments in just 2 months to as well as Maryland and Oregon seeing a 30%+ net increase in enrollees over the past 6 months.

Today I can add Kentucky to the latter list. She couldn't provide an exact current count, but according to the woman I spoke with at the kynect exchange (that's "Obamacare", Mitch!), the number of Kentuckians currently enrolled in private policies via kynect is "right around the same number it was at last spring, between 80-85 thousand".

For five months now, I've been trying to unscramble Kentucky Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's word salad about what his post-Obamacare-repeal intentions are for the people of Kentucky.

To recap:

Repeal Obamacare > Repeal the ACA > Repeal kynect > Tear healthcare from 527K Kentuckians.

Last week I announced that I've started writing occasional pieces for HealthInsurance.org. Today they've published my 2nd entry, which is all about Kentucky, Mitch McConnell and the real-world impact on hundreds of thousands of people that repealing the ACA would have.

UPDATE: In my story, I noted that the Federal Government is picking up 100% of the tab for the expanded Medicaid enrollees for the first 3 years, and then thought that it dropped down to 90% for another 6 years, and then to the normal fed/state split after that (70/30 in the case of Kentucky).

Thanks to David M. for bringing to my attention this correction: The expansion program is an even better deal for the states than I thought, because apparently the Federal share only drops to 90% permanently (well, unless a future Congress messes around with that provision of the ACA, of course).

A couple of days ago, in response to my debunking of Mitch McConnell's litany of lies about the Affordable Care Act, I posted a letter from a Kentucky resident who gave his view of the situation.

In response to thatanother Kentucky resident responded with a different perspective. Again, aside from cleaning up some typos and breaking it into more paragraphs for easier readability, I'm presenting it verbatim:

Mr. Gaba, I am also from Kentucky. I appeciate your fact checking of McConnell on the ACA and in most instances I would say that you are correct and he is not.

That said, I work in health care and we have also seen a boon in our bottom line due to decreased uncompensated care and bad debts. We are also in a poor county and almost 80% of the people were Medicaid recipients including some of my family members, so the ACA, at least in the short term has benefited us.

Just received the following email from a Kentucky resident. With his permission, I'm leaving out his name but am presenting it verbatim otherwise, with no further comment:

Thanks for discrediting good ol' Mitch. What a joke. I am a resident of Kentucky and here's how the ACA impacts my family with other opinions included for good measure.

We have read and heard the partisan battle waged for and against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Much has been written and said, but I live it. I experience it. But to truly evaluate it requires good old-fashioned common sense. For some reason, this has gone the way of bipartisan politics.

Since I am a consultant paid on a per hour basis, I do not receive nor do I expect to receive health benefits through my employer. We purchased our health plan through the Kentucky Health Exchange – KYNECT: a marketplace to purchase health plans created via the ACA. We chose a silver plan.

MONTHLY PREMIUM: $614/$7,368 (annual cost)

  • Percentage of monthly take home pay: 16%

MONTHLY PREMIUM W/ ACA TAX CREDITS: $303/$3,636 (annual cost)

Yeah, I did a takedown of Mitch McConnell last night which gained some traction. However, that was more of a rant. Today, let's take a look at just how many times he flat-out lied about the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare", aka "kynect"), shall we?

The yellow highlights are lies by McConnell. The orange highlights are either questionable/confusing statements by either him or the moderator, or otherwise just noteworthy:

(Moderator Bill) Goodman: has Obamacare and kynect been a boon or a bane for Kentuckians? Senator?

Mcconnell: Kentucky kynect is a website1. It was paid for by a $200 million and some-odd grant from the federal government. The website can continue. But in my view, the best interest of the country would be achieved by pulling out Obamacare root & branch and let me tell you why.

An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell:

McConnell says that he supports Kynect because it is just a website.... #kysen

— Joe Sonka (@joesonka) October 14, 2014

Dear Senator McConnell:

In addition to running ACASignups.net, I also happen to be a website developer by trade. I founded my website development company 15 years ago, which makes me an old man in the industry.

Given both of these capacities, I think I'm in a pretty good position to judge what's "just a website" and what isn't.

The kynect "just a website" wouldn't exist without Barack "Yeah, He's Black And He's The President Of The United States, It's Been 5 1/2 Years So Get Over It Already" Obama and the Democratic Party.

What arglebargle will come out of Mitch McConnell's mouth regarding trying to yank healthcare away from over half a million Kentuckians this evening?

The Big Senate Debate of the day promises to be the showdown in Kentucky between Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Challenger (and current Secretary of State) Alison Lundergan Grimes.

According to NBC News, there's a chance, at least, that McConnell may finally have to provide a straight answer as to what he intends to do to provide health insurance to the 527,000 Kentuckians (and counting) who are currently enrolled in either private policies or Medicaid via the Kynect healthcare exchange.

Otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchange.

Otherwise known as the Obamacare healthcare exchange.

For his part, McConnell is likely to face questions about health care.

Now that Mitch McConnell is starting to feel the heat, he's decided to try and double down on the Evils of Obamacare by tying Alison Lundergan Grimes to the law (even though she didn't vote for it, seeing how she isn't, you know, a Senator yet).

So, he's started running a new ad in which a real-life doctor attacks Obamacare (mentioning in the "O" word 6 times in 30 seconds, if you include the on-screen text) while stating that Grimes supports it while McConnell wants to repeal it.

Do me a quick favor. Watch the 2 brand-new ads below and tell me what the #hashtag they tout brings to mind:

VERY nice find from contributor Britt M. This article is from back in April...how have I not heard about this woman before??

Meet the Kentucky Dem Running On, Not From, Obamacare

But even as Obamacare found its sea legs nationally and boasted solid first enrollment numbers in recent weeks [reminder: article is from April], it still came as a surprise to local political watchers when a Kentucky Democratic congressional candidate picked up the ACA baton and used it to bash the GOP incumbent that she is challengingElisabeth Jensen, the presumptive favorite to take on Lexington Congressman Andy Barr this November, emerged last week as the first federal candidate in the region—and one of only a few in the entire country—to broadcast a campaign ad championing health care reform, and attacking her opponent for voting more than a dozen times to repeal it.

Presented without comment:

Key Republicans running for election Nov. 4 say the federal Affordable Care Act is putting Kentuckians out of work, but employment data and interviews with Kentucky-based economists suggest otherwise.

...Factually, the claim doesn't appear to be accurate. Kentucky had 26,271 more people working last month than it did in March 2010 when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state's unemployment rate in that same period fell from 10.5 percent to 7.1 percent.

Manoj Shanker, an economist at the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, said the health care law "is expected to be a net gain for the economy."

"It is definitely expected to create jobs, and not just for doctors and nurses," Shanker said.

...About 3,600 additional health care jobs were created over the last year in Kentucky as places such as Perry County...saw the percentages of their population without health insurance drop from as high as 20 percent to no more than 8 percent.

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