(LOUISVILLE, Ky - DECEMBER 27, 2018) Following several years of increasing popularity, Kentucky adults’ opinions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went unchanged from 2017 to 2018, although residents remain deeply divided on the health care law. According to the Kentucky Health Issues Poll, 44 percent of Kentucky adults have a favorable opinion of the ACA, while 33 percent don’t like it. Slightly more than half say the law has had no impact on them and their families, while about equal proportions – two in ten – say it has had either a positive or negative impact.
The Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) is an annual telephone poll of Kentucky adults; it is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health. KHIP has included questions about the ACA since 2010.
Under the ACA, also known as Obamacare, Kentucky expanded Medicaid to cover residents whose annual household income was less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. As a result, the number of uninsured Kentuckians dropped dramatically. The Bevin Administration’s 1115 waiver, which is scheduled to roll out beginning in April 2019, is projected to reduce the number of people enrolled in Medicaid.
Just 26 percent of Kentuckians approved of the ACA when it passed in 2010, 18 percentage points below the high reached last year and sustained this year. Disapproval of the law started at 47 percent and has dropped 14 percentage points since 2010. The percentage of those who aren’t sure has been as high as 26 percent in 2010 and as low as 14 percent in 2016.
Nearly six in 10 of Kentucky adults polled say they have enough information to understand how the law affects them, but 41 percent say they don’t.
“There’s no question that the Medicaid expansion under the ACA in Kentucky made strides toward improving health by increasing the number of people who are covered, and the number of preventive screenings, substance use treatments and other pro-health measures,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
The Foundation has partnered with the Bevin Administration to help Kentuckians eligible for Medicaid to meet the requirements that will be imposed by the waiver – including monthly premium payments and a mandate to engage in the community by working, volunteering, going to school or, for those dealing with substance use issues, enrolling in a treatment program. The Foundation will help cover premiums for those who cannot afford them, and is working with multiple organizations to ensure enough job opportunities are available for those required to work. The Foundation also will provide a feedback loop to the Bevin Administration about how the waiver is working.
“Our singular goal is to keep as many Kentuckians covered by health insurance as possible because insurance improves access to preventive health care and reduces the likelihood and severity of chronic illness,” Chandler said.
The 2018 KHIP report regarding Kentuckians’ opinions of the ACA is available here. For more information about KHIP and to see previous years’ reports, visit the Foundation’s website at www.healthy-ky.org/research/category/4/kentucky-health-issues-polls.
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth