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Kentucky Residents Fear Consequences Of Obamacare Repeal

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Kentucky was one of the states that embraced the Affordable Care Act.

More than 500,000 Kentuckians gained health coverage as a result of the law. About 400,000 got insurance through the expansion of the Medicaid system in the state and the rest through the implementation of Kynect, the now-dismantled state health exchange.

Since the 2013 implementation of the policy, under former Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, the percentage of Kentuckians without insurance has dropped from more than 20 percent down to 8 percent.

But praise for the state's implementation of the law has been rebutted by many of the Kentucky's elected officials, notably Republican Governor Matt Bevin — who campaigned on scaling back the ACA in Kentucky — and Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, who are working to repeal the program in Congress.

Bevin dismantled Kynect over the course of 2016, and enrollees were transitioned to the federal Healthcare.gov platform. He’s also applied to change the state’s Medicaid expansion system by eliminating some benefits and requiring most recipients to pay premiums costing between $1 and $15 per month.

I spoke with residents about their experiences with the law and how a potential repeal might affect them.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.

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