Majority of Kentuckians not fearful of losing insurance; Congressional Budget Office says repeal will raise costs, leave millions without insurance

01/18/2017 10:00 AM

A new study suggests less than one-fifth of Kentucky adults with health insurance were concerned with losing their coverage, at least in the weeks leading up to the November elections.

The most recent study from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Cincinnati-based Interact for Health, showed voters were not concerned about losing their coverage, but were split on their opinion of the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare.

The poll found concerns varied by respondents’ self-reported health statuses, but just 11 percent of those in excellent or good health were concerned about losing coverage. Nearly one-third of those polled who said they were in poor or fair health indicated a concern of losing their coverage, according to a press release from KHIP.

“The vast majority of Kentuckians just weren’t worried about having their health insurance coverage taken away, despite the debate about the potential for repealing the ACA in the months preceding the election,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Kentucky, like the nation, remains deeply divided on the health care law.”

KHIP has been polling Kentuckians about the health care law since it was passed in 2010, but this is the first poll to ask about concerns over losing health insurance.

The report, released on Tuesday, showed that 40 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of the ACA. However, 46 percent of respondents voiced an unfavorable view of the law.

KHIP says the views match what polls have shown since the law went into effect in 2014. Between the passage of the law in 2010 and its implementation, favorable opinions grew from 26 to 39 percent in Kentucky, according to a press release.

“More than 600,000 Kentuckians have gained health coverage under the ACA, and our own research shows that it has greatly increased the use of important health measures such as cancer and dental screenings, preventive care services and substance use treatment,” Chandler said in a statement. “Yet nearly half of Kentuckians continue to oppose it. And a majority, although slim at 51 percent, also said that the ACA really hasn’t affected or their families at all.”

A random sample of 1,580 adults throughout Kentucky were called for the latest poll conducted from Sept. 11 through Oct. 19.

Congressional Budget Office predicting rising rates, millions without insurance

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is predicting major insurance rate increases and potentially millions of Americans left without insurance coverage if Congress repeals major provisions of the health care law, while leaving other areas intact.

Eighteen million people are predicted to lose insurance in the first year, and that could increase to 32 million Americans in a decade, according to the report released on Tuesday. All the while insurance premiums could end up doubling if Congressional Republicans follow through with their plans.

The report comes at a difficult time for President-elect Donald Trump as Congress is beginning efforts to repeal the law as the New York businessman assumes the presidency.

The legislation the budget office offered their analysis upon would have eliminated tax penalties for people who go without insurance. The review legislation also halted the expansion of Medicaid. However, the bill would continue to call for insurance companies to provide coverage to applicants regardless of pre-existing medical conditions.

Repealing the health care law has been a top priority for Republicans in Congress, who have campaigned on the issue during President Barack Obama’s presidency.

According to the New York Times

The budget office said the estimated increase of 32 million people without coverage in 2026 resulted from three changes: about 23 million fewer people would have coverage in the individual insurance market, roughly 19 million fewer people would have Medicaid coverage, and there would be an increase in the number of people with employment-based insurance that would partially offset those losses.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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