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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Kentucky’s Affordable Care Act online health exchange signed up 32,485 Kentuckians in its first month of operation, according to the office of Governor Steve Beshear. This reduces the state’s uninsured population — estimated at 640,000 — by just over 5 percent.

Of those enrolled, 27,854 people signed up for Medicaid and 4,631 picked a private plan.

In contrast, Romneycare — the Massachusetts health care plan the Affordable Care Act is modeled upon — enrolled just 123 people in its first month.

The Bay State already had a very generous Medicaid program before its reforms but the first month’s enrollees ended up being only .7 percent of the residents who eventually signed up, which is comparable to the .7 percent of Kentucky’s uninsured population that has already picked a private plan.


Red Kentucky has been the model of a state that has rolled out the Affordable Care Act in the way it was intended — with its own exchange and Medicaid expansion. This success is largely the result of the efforts of one man — Democrat Beshear, who in his last term is looking to cement his legacy, according to The Daily Beast‘s Jonathan Miller:

Over the past several months, Beshear used his broad executive powers to bypass resistance from the GOP-controlled state Senate to ensure that the Commonwealth is the only Southern state that both expanded its Medicaid rolls and opened up a health benefit exchange, providing access to affordable health care to our more than 640,000 uninsured citizens. And while the federal launch of the program has been plagued with technical difficulties, Kentucky’s experience has been exemplary:  In its first day, 10,766 applications for health coverage were initiated, 6,909 completed and 2,989 families were enrolled. Obama himself bragged that Kentucky led the nation with its glitch-minimized performance.

Whatever Beshear’s motivations, his state is showing that reform can rapidly reduce the number of the uninsured when properly implemented.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  • Dominick Vila

    Rest assured, the GOP will spin this and transform it into irrefutable evidence of failure.

    • Independent1

      You can be sure they won’t make any mention whatsoever that only 123 people signed up for Romney’s version of Obamacare during its 1st month of operation. Just as they haven’t mentioned one word about how horrendous the Bush Administration’s rollout of Medicare Part D was which took 6 months to get working right; even though that rollout was much less complex than rolling out ACA.

    • docb

      Good for the Gov and the people of Kentucky… Bad for randi and the turtle!

      Then there is this…

    • elw

      Your right they will but It does not matter, Dominick. They can say what ever they want, it will not change the outcomes anymore than their shut down did. The only outcome of all this is they are just making themselves more and more annoying, just like they did during Clinton’s impeachment.

  • WhutHeSaid

    Hee-hee! It’s starting to work already, and in the home state of that wacky goober Rand Paul, no less.

    Hey — Tea-Bigots: Can you feel it?

    • Brandy

      I’m loving it!

  • Lynda Groom

    Translation: Horrible news in wacko bird world.

  • elw

    One of the things not really talked about on the News is the fact that the Federal exchange is actually just for those States that refused to participate with their own exchanges. My educated guess is successes like Kentucky will take much zip out of the political show the Right is putting on with their multiple misleading stories on why Obamacare is failing. The States that made the decision to put their own exchanges together will play a major role in disproving the Right’s fairytale’s and be the leaders who end up guiding the hold out State into their own exchanges. There is no stopping the ACA, the GOP can cause some confusion, make funding difficult but they will not win this and they know it. That is why their hysteria level in getting higher, they trapped themselves and they do not know how to get out of the trap.

  • bozo banerry

    Yep, but they’re the ones not paying for it….these are the ones YOU pay for. The solution is simple, just don’t sign up.

    • Sand_Cat

      Sure. Let’s make sure people keep dying from easily treatable illnesses because they can’t afford care. That’s really what you and friends want, right?
      Your name is well chosen.

    • Lynda Groom

      Don’t sign up just die quickly. Really? We all pay one way or the other when millions of our fellow citizens don’t have health care. All of our major economic competitors don’t allow a system like ours to destroy the lifes of their citizens. Why should we in good conscience stand by and not act?

    • iamproteus

      Bozo, that was an unbelievably ignorant thing to say! You really need to re-evaluate your ideology. As it stands now, it really, really sucks!

  • bozo banerry

    Read again folks before declaring victory. “Of those enrolled, 27,854 people signed up for Medicaid and 4,631 picked a private plan,” so less than 1% are actually paying for it, YOU pay for these folks. If this trend continues, this boondoggle will bankrupt Kentucky and make the system fail.

    • Suralin

      We were paying for them even before the ACA, due to a Reagan-era law that says hospitals are required to treat patients in the emergency room even if they’re penniless. (The hospitals have passed the cost of these “charity cases” on to insurance holders.)

      At least with expanded Medicaid (and other insurance via ACA), more people will visit the doctor earlier, rather than waiting to deal with health problems until the last minute and going straight to the emergency room.

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you want to reduce the number of people taking advantage of government services, you need to be willing to hire some of them and pay them a living wage.

    • Bill Ellis

      Any one getting insurance through their employer (about 85% of us ) is getting our insurance subsidized by tax dollars too.

      • dslpltdor

        How do figure that Bill .

        • Sand_Cat

          Tax write-off for the companies who provide insurance.

        • Paul Bass

          Also you don’t pay taxes on those additional health benefits provided by your employer. And most employers subsidize the health insurance for their employees.

    • Independent1

      Boondogle huh!! Is that why 28,000 in California signed up from 10/1-10/5 with the vast vast majority being exchange policies not medicaid; and similarly, through 10/30 – more than 150,000 signed up in New York State. Some boondogle!!!

    • Brandy

      Oh so we wasn’t paying for it before and it wasn’t bankrupting this country before?

    • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

      From an article USA Today: “On average, uninsured families pay only about 12% of their hospital bills in full, a government study finds. WASHINGTON —
      Uninsured Americans — including those with incomes well above the poverty line
      — leave hospitals with unpaid tabs of up to $49 billion a year, according to a
      USA TODAY analysis of government statistics. On average, uninsured families can pay only about 12% of their hospital bills in full. Families with incomes above 400% of the poverty level, or about $88,000 a year for a family of four, pay about 37% of their hospital bills in full, according to the Department of Health and Human Services study.

      So as Suralin said: “We were paying for them even before the ACA”. “If you want to reduce the number of people taking advantage of government services, you need to be willing to hire some of them and pay them a living wage.” To that I add pass the American Jobs Act presented in 2011 – people go back to work, pay taxes increasing revenue, decreases expenses due to people coming off of government programs, local economies begin to grow and as a whole the economy grows.

  • latebloomingrandma

    I always thought when a law was passed by the federal gov’t, it went into effect and the states started to do their due diligence to comply. Somehow, 36 states just dissed the ACA. If all 50 did what KY did, we probably would not have hade the massive boondoggle occurring now.

    • Lynda Groom


  • jimsure

    I am very happy to see this. At that rate in 20 months the other 95% will be signed up. Oh wait, they only have until next March to sign up. Looks like 75% will pay a penalty. Bet your taxes will go up to pay for all the new medicaid enrollees.