The House passed its Obamacare replacement bill. I hope the Senate does better, but unfortunately, it has already made a mistake by planning to kill expanded Medicaid. The expansion has produced some very positive results. The health of Kentucky’s poor is improving because of the specific elements of the expanded plan. According to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, in 2016:
▪ Preventative screenings for conditions like colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, high cholesterol and diabetes through Medicaid have doubled.
▪ Regular dental check-ups have doubled. The No. 1 reason people go to hospital emergency rooms is a toothache. Diverting people to a dentist provides better treatment and preventive care, which lowers dental costs long term.
▪ Tobacco use counseling and interventions have nearly tripled. Smoking rates are going down.
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▪ More people with chronic illnesses like asthma, hypertension and depression are getting regular care and are less likely to skip taking prescribed medicines.
▪ More people have a personal doctor and are going for annual check-ups more often.
All of these reduce costs by providing preventive and/or improved treatment, and reducing use of emergency rooms as the usual source of care.
Encourage Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to continue the Medicaid expansion.
Former chairman, Kenton County Republican Party