Friday, March 7, 2014

Todd County weekly's editor-publisher wonders why so many uninsured locals haven't signed up for health insurance

With open enrollment in the new health-insurance exchanges ending March 31, at least one country editor is wondering why most people in his community who lack coverage haven't take advantage of the historic opportunity. And since he's in Kentucky, he used the state's next-to-last ranking in the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index as the point of departure for an article that took up most of his editorial page.

"Kentucky is its own worst enemy . . . and if you think this is just an Eastern Kentucky problem, you aren't paying attention," Editor-Publisher Ryan Craig, right, wrote in last week's Todd County Standard, in Western Kentucky. "Our numbers suggest we are as miserable as anywhere in the state, i.e., the nation." Craig then listed statistics for poverty, income, education and health insurance and said bluntly, "We are near the bottom in all of these categories, which are the same categories that cause Kentucky to have such a dismal ranking in the Miserable Test year after year."

Craig says Todd County, "it, seems, is among the bottom of counties who signed up for the Affordable Care Act," and wonders why only 533 of the estimated 2,455 people in his county without health insurance have signed up for it: "Is it because of fear of the unknown? Politics? The prevailing answer people tell me is that they would rather pay the tax penalty and not have the insurance. What would happen if that person or someone in their family was in a car wreck? They readily admit that they are taking a big chance, but don't see how they can afford the insurance even when it is cheaper now, especially those who are very sick and couldn't get insurance before." One man told him he would have to declare bankruptcy.

"The deadline to apply for health insurance through the exchange is March 31," Craig writes. "If you don't have insurance, at least consider the process." The Standard has been judged Kentucky's best small weekly newspaper seven years in a row, but doesn't put news or editorials online. For a scan of the editorial as a PDF, click here.

1 comment:

  1. It is not complicated. We took a bad system and made it far worse. It's not the fault of those who refuse to play along and no amount of cajoling will make any difference. Get the government out of the way to reduce costs and improve service. Repeal certificate of need, dramatically reduce government controls on insurers and prospective insurers. We have been trying it the big government way for decades and have proven definitively that central planning does not work in healthcare. Until you understand that, you will be constantly flummoxed by reality.