- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Lt. gov. candidate named Senate budget chairman

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Republican-controlled state Senate appointed new leaders on Monday for two powerful committees that will help shape the future of Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion and how the state will pay for it.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, is the new chairman of the committee in charge of spending the state’s $9 billion budget. And newly elected Sen. Julie Raque Adams is the new chairwoman of the committee that oversees Kentucky’s Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

The appointments come while Kentuckians are signing up for health insurance through kynect, the state-operated exchange where people can purchase discounted private health insurance or sign up for Medicaid. More than 521,000 people signed up for health insurance during the first round of open enrollment, with most of those people enrolling for Medicaid.

So far, the federal government has paid for all of the new people to join the state’s Medicaid program. But beginning in 2017, Kentucky taxpayers will have to start paying for part of the bill.

“That’s going to be a big number and as of yet it’s an unknown number,” McDaniel said. “We’re going to be very serious about getting our arms around that.”

But don’t look for Republicans to try to dismantle Kentucky’s decision to grow its Medicaid population.

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Autopsy reveals few clues about Jessamine remains

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A coroner says the condition of human remains found near the Kentucky River in central Kentucky leads him to believe the person apparently died as a result of homicide.

Jessamine County Coroner Michael Hughes says a passerby who was hiking or fishing found the torso Saturday near the Madison County line.

Hughes told the Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/1vxAVZihttps://bit.ly/1vxAVZi ) that an autopsy Sunday didn’t determine the cause of death or the person’s identity and gender. He says authorities aren’t sure when or where the person died.

He says the remains have probably been in the water and washed up because of recent rain.

Hughes said the fact that the body isn’t intact and the condition make the death appear to be the result of a homicide.

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Duke buys remaining interest in Ky. coal plant

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a transaction that makes Duke Energy the sole owner of the East Bend electric power plant in northern Kentucky.

The PSC says Duke Energy Kentucky purchased the minority interest in the plant that was held by Dayton Power & Light Co. of Ohio. The commission authorized Duke Kentucky to purchase Dayton Power’s 31 percent interest in the plant for $12.4 million. The 600-megawatt coal-fired plant is in southwest Boone County.

Duke stated in its application that the purchase will offset the loss of generating capacity with the expected retirement of its coal-fired Miami Fort unit in Ohio by mid-2015.

As part of a settlement with the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, Duke agreed that it will not file for a rate increase before 2016.

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Oregon to use Kentucky software for Medicaid

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon is planning to use an online Medicaid enrollment system from Kentucky after giving up on its own troubled software.

Oregon’s Medicaid director, Judy Mohr Peterson, told a state legislative committee about the plan Monday.

Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, kynect, has been applauded as a success story. Oregon’s exchange, called Cover Oregon, became a political embarrassment for Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber when it failed to launch.

Oregon and its main technology contractor, Oracle Corp., have filed lawsuits against each other.

Once the transfer is complete, Oregon will use a federal website to enroll people in private insurance and will use the Kentucky software to manage enrollments in the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid.

Federal grants that paid for states to develop their own insurance exchanges required them to share the software, so Oregon can use Kentucky’s software code and documentation without charge, said Patty Wentz, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Health Authority. Oregon will have to pay to adapt the software for its needs, but it wasn’t immediately clear what that will cost.

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