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Affordable Care Act has helped reduce number of uninsured in all counties

Uninsured rate down from 20.4 percent to 11.9 percent

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2014) — Through the Affordable Care Act, Kentucky has dramatically reduced the number of uninsured residents in each of its 120 counties, according to a progress report given today to the members of the Governor’s kyhealthnow Oversight Team.

Emily Parento, executive director of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Office of Health Policy, presented members with maps outlining the potential reduction in Kentucky’s rate of uninsured people, one of the team’s seven major health goals to be met within five years.

AffordablecareGov. Steve Beshear created “kyhealthnow” earlier this year, establishing seven major goals to reduce Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits by 2019. The Oversight Team consists of cabinet secretaries and key state agency officials, and is chaired by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and vice-chaired by state health commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield.

“The dramatic decrease in the number of uninsured Kentuckians directly correlates with the quality, comprehensive health care coverage available through kynect,” Abramson said. “As we all know, getting more Kentuckians covered by health insurance helps lay the groundwork for us to achieve the goals set by the kyhealthnow initiative.”

Dr. Tom Frieden, director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, addressed the value of health in all policies and discussed CDC’s “winnable battles,” including reductions in smoking and other health indicators.

In presenting the semiannual update to oversight members, Parento outlined progress in the seven major areas targeted by the kyhealthnow initiative. Among noteworthy achievements:  she cited a Gallup poll released this week that showed Kentucky’s uninsured rate dropping from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 11.9 percent halfway through 2014, a decline of 42 percent or 8.5 percentage points, the second highest drop in the country.

Parento highlighted the significant decline in Kentucky’s youth smoking rate from 24.1 percent in 2011 to 17.9 percent in 2013, according to data released during July, and a marked increase in adult dental visits by Medicaid members in 2014.

The seven kyhealthnow goals are:

  • Health insurance – Reduce Kentucky’s rate of uninsured people to less than 5 percent
  • Smoking – Reduce Kentucky’s smoking rate by 10 percent
  • Obesity – Reduce the rate of obesity among Kentuckians by 10 percent
  • Cancer – Reduce Kentucky cancer deaths by 10 percent
  • Cardiovascular Disease – Reduce cardiovascular deaths by 10 percent
  • Dental Decay – Reduce the percentage of children with untreated dental decay by 25 percent, and increase adult dental visits by 10 percent
  • Drug Addiction and Mental Health– Reduce deaths from drug overdose by 25 percent, and reduce the average number of poor mental health days of Kentuckians by 25 percent.