Ky. Lawmakers, Health Care Professionals Weigh In On Health Care Reform

Oct 8, 2013

State Representative Mary Lou Marzian and Winchester pediatrician Ralph Alvarado offered different takes on the Affordable Care Act on KET. 

Governor Steve Beshear's full-throated defense of three-year-old health reform package has made Kentucky a state to watch as more residents sign on to the exchanges.

Supporters and opponents of the new health care law are paying close attention to the open enrollment process underway on Kentucky’s benefits exchange, known as Kynect. Monday, lawmakers and health professionals squared off on Kentucky Tonight over the early numbers.

Winchester pediatrician Ralph Alvarado characterized the rollout as “disastrous.”

"They're saying that they're getting people who are confused, calling up, don't know how to sign up,  they're not sure about eligibility... that the people working there answering the phone calls are getting minute by minute changes on the plans. So they talk to someone on the phone and give them advice on what to do. They hang up and within literally five minutes that plan may have changed and the advice they gave them is no longer valid," Alvarado said.

But Democratic State Representative Marzian said Alavarado’s experience has been anecdotal and, on the whole, the system is working well.

"They've had over 175,000 visitors to the site. They've got over 150,000 that are getting pre-screened to get pre-enrolled. Of course there [are] going to be problems, but the plans are in place and they offer four types of benefits. There's the platinum, the gold, the silver, and the bronze plans, so you can look at and compare exactly what they are," Marzian countered.

Kentucky has roughly 640,000 uninsured residents. About 92 percent are expected to qualify for Medicaid or some financial assistance to help cover their healthcare costs.