Now that more Kentuckians have health coverage, Beshear wants to see improvements in health

02/20/2014 04:58 PM

More Kentuckians getting health insurance is one thing, but Gov. Steve Beshear on Thursday, laid out specific improvements in Kentuckians’ overall health that he wants to see come from that increase in coverage.

Beshear rolled out a new set of goals under the initiative Kentucky Health Now that moves forward the healthy outcomes of the implementation of healthcare expansion and reform.

The initiative focuses on seven health care goals to be met in the next five years:

Health insurance – Reduce rate of uninsured to less than 5 percent
Smoking – Reduce state smoking rate by 10 percent
Obesity – Reduce the rate of obesity among Kentuckians by 10 percent
Cancer – Reduce cancer deaths by 10 percent
Cardiovascular Disease – Reduce cardiovascular deaths by 10 percent
Dental Decay – Reduce the children with untreated dental decay by 25 percent, and increase adult dental visits by 10 percent
Drug Addiction – Reduce drug overdose deaths by 25 percent

In May 2013, Gov. Steve Beshear used an executive order to expand health care coverage to 300,000 more Kentuckians who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty rate.

Beshear said more than 244,000 Kentuckians who have enrolled in the Kynect health insurance exchange program, and he said Kentuckians are enrolling at a rate of 1,700 per day.

To ensure accountability that the goals are met, Beshear assigned Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson to serve as the chair of the Kentucky Health Now working group, which will report progress every 6 months.

“The governor as he’s been reviewing everything to create a state where we can attract more investment — create more jobs — [he] clearly understands that there are a lot of parts that have to come together to make that successful. Whether its a tax code that is responsive to economic growth or whether its insuring that there’s educated, productive and skilled workforce ready to go to work,” Abramson said.

“The third aspect is to ensure that healthcare is there and is being provided,” he said.

Health and Family Services Cabinet Secretary Audrey Haynes told reporters that Kentuckians have healthcare coverage now “we just have to lead them to the waters and make them drink.”

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, 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 the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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