- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Consultants are finishing a report that examines how Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act has impacted Kentucky’s health care system.

The Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/1CQ98LD) reports the Cabinet for Health and Family Services plans to release the study in coming weeks. The report is expected to explore issues including provider reimbursements, uncompensated care, job creation, tax revenue and future enrollment projections.

In the year since Kentucky enacted expanded Medicaid, enrollment has climbed from about 850,000 in 2013 to nearly 1.2 million.

Advocates and critics of the law both say they are looking forward to seeing results of the study, which is being done by Deloitte Consulting, as well as Aon Consulting and the University of Louisville.

Regan Hunt, head of the advocacy group Kentucky Voices for Health, said she hopes the report includes details about how newly insured people are receiving care.



“Are these folks who now have coverage, are they getting care? Are they having trouble getting care? . We have lots of questions,” she said.

Critics, who are concerned the cost will end up being more than projected, say they want to see if the expansion has begun to create projected jobs and tax revenue.

“By the time the bill comes due, this administration will be out of office. And they won’t pay any kind of price,” said Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute, a conservative think tank.

Kentucky’s uninsured rate has fallen from 20 percent in 2013 to less than 12 percent last year, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Hundreds of people enroll each week for insurance through the Affordable Care Act at Family Health Centers in Louisville, according to Executive Director Bill Wagner. Most qualify for Medicaid, he said.

“From the Family Health Centers perspective, we have seen the percentage of patients who are uninsured drop from about 51 percent a year ago to about 19 percent. Thousands of patients that we’ve had for years now have Medicaid,” Wagner said. “From the patient perspective, it’s certainly been a blessing. I think they can now sleep at night not worrying about how they will pay for health care. And it’s easier to make specialist and mental health referrals, and prescription drugs are more accessible.”

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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