KY Policy Blog

Important Federal Investments in Kentucky’s Coal Communities at Risk

By Ashley Spalding
April 28, 2017

A panel at the East Kentucky Leadership Conference highlighted the importance of federal investments in addressing economic challenges in the state’s coal communities. With these funds at risk in the federal budget for 2018 and beyond, eastern Kentucky — and the broader Appalachian region — could be stalled in these important efforts.

At the conference a number of participants in projects funded by the federal POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative highlighted how these funds — reportedly approximately $20 million in Kentucky — are being used read more

The Many Harms of the American Health Care Act for Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
April 27, 2017

The House of Representatives is moving toward a possible vote Friday on an amended version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill contains the same harmful changes as before: it would dramatically reduce the number of Kentuckians with health coverage, make plans more expensive for those buying insurance through the marketplace and shift billions of dollars to the Kentucky state budget — all while providing large tax cuts to millionaires. And the amendments make the bill even worse, allowing read more

New Amendment to Healthcare Repeal Bill Threatens Kentuckians with Pre-existing Conditions

By Dustin Pugel
April 27, 2017

The so-called “Meadows-MacArthur” amendment to the Affordable Care Act repeal bill does nothing to protect Kentuckians from the bill’s harmful changes, but makes things worse by jeopardizing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. There are 1.8 million people in Kentucky under 65 who have some kind of pre-existing condition, which is 50 percent of the non-elderly population.

The amendment does not repeal what is called “guaranteed issue” (the requirement that insurers offer coverage to everyone, regardless of their medical history), but allows states to waive certain requirements, effectively gutting that read more

A County-by-County Look at Kentucky’s Dramatic Health Coverage Gains

By Dustin Pugel
April 27, 2017

As we’ve written before, Kentucky has seen a dramatic drop in those without health insurance in every county, especially since 2013. Using the same Census estimates starting the year the Affordable Care Act became law, it is clear that 2014, the first year of Medicaid expansion and the insurance exchanges, is when Kentucky started to see large declines in uninsured residents.

Every county in Kentucky has seen a dramatic drop in uninsured since the Affordable Care Act was passed.Especially during 2014 & 2015.

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By several counts, Kentucky saw the largest drop in uninsured, and read more

2017 Session a Step Backward for Kentucky Workers

By Anna Baumann
April 19, 2017

The 2017 General Assembly has ended, but the full impact on workers of several harmful bills passed during the session will play out for years to come.

In the very first week of session in January, the legislature passed “Right to Work” (RTW, HB 1), making Kentucky the 28th state with such a law. The evidence does not support backers’ claims that RTW leads to job growth. Instead, what RTW does is lower wages for all workers in states – by an estimated $1,558 a year in 2015 dollars – read more

What Are Taxes For?

By Anna Baumann
April 18, 2017

Across the commonwealth, Kentuckians are filing their taxes this week; and many are wondering if and how the Governor’s intention to do tax reform this year will impact what they pay in the future. The principles of good tax reform are clear (that it generates new revenue to invest in our communities in a fair and reliable way). Tax Day is a good time to remember what our contributions pay for, and why we should make sure that everyone is chipping in.

Through local, state and federal governments, tax dollars read more

Kentucky’s ACA Health Insurance Marketplace Is Not Falling Apart

By Dustin Pugel
April 13, 2017

Far from collapsing, the health insurance exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are a way many Kentuckians are now able to buy health insurance. It will be important for the 81,155 Kentuckians who depend on that coverage for those in Washington to keep it stable rather than undermine it with administrative changes, threatened repeal of the ACA or even reckless public statements that cause insurance companies to question their participation.

Numbers from this year’s open enrollment show a functioning marketplace

Kentucky’s enrollment was lower this year than read more

Criminal Justice Bills Passed This Session

By Ashley Spalding
March 31, 2017

As the session began, many were hopeful that the legislature was poised to pass criminal justice reforms that would make a meaningful impact in reducing the state’s growing inmate population, associated corrections costs and high rates of recidivism. So where did we end up?

Here are the criminal justice bills that passed:

First steps to improve reeentry. Senate Bill 120 is the bill coming out of the Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council (CJPAC) appointed by the governor. Rather than a broader reform package, the bill takes some first steps toward read more

Tuition Increase Ceilings Announced

By Ashley Spalding
March 31, 2017

Today the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) announced the maximum in-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fee increases the state’s public universities and community colleges will be allowed to charge students in the coming year. These tuition caps range from zero at the University of Louisville (at their request) to five percent at four of the state’s comprehensive institutions. In the coming months, the higher education institutions will decide how much to increase tuition and fees within these limits. While college affordability is widely understood to be a serious challenge in read more

New Version of Drug Bill Would Have Serious Consequences for Addicts and Criminal Justice System

By Ashley Spalding
March 30, 2017

A new version of House Bill 333 passed the Senate Judiciary committee late last night. The bill contains very consequential changes for Kentuckians struggling with addiction, as well as the state’s criminal justice system.

An earlier version of HB 333 increased penalties for fentanyl trafficking in very small amounts — any amount under two grams. However, these penalties would not apply if a person could prove that he/she had a substance abuse problem at the time of the offense. This provision was important because the state’s definition of trafficking is read more