Weekly newspaper in Jessamine County localizes the changes coming to health insurance and health care

The Jessamine Journal did a story this week that every Kentucky newspaper can do, spotlighting the local impacts of Medicaid expansion under federal health reform and federal tax credits for private insurance through the state health benefits exchange that opens Oct. 1, and comparing the local percentages to the rest of the state.

This graphic by Jonathan Kleppinger illustrated the story.

“A larger percentage of low-income people in Jessamine County than in
most Kentucky counties have been uninsured and will be able to receive
free health coverage through the Affordable Care Act,” Kelly McKinney began her story. She noted that only 21 counties in the state have a higher
percentage of people who have no health insurance and will be eligible for Medicaid when it expands Jan. 1.

McKinney went to a local expert for an analysis and wrote, “Having health insurance will mean better health care for the estimated
3,535 low-income Jessamine Countians who haven’t had insurance, said
Randy Gooch, public health director for the Jessamine County Health
Department
.” Gooch also mentioned some potential problems: the lack of enough health-care providers to handle the influx of people entering the regular health-care system, and a reduction in services by health departments because they can’t bill insurance companies for services.

McKinney’s story is an example of how to put these topics into local terms and give readers information they need about changes coming to health insurance and health care. For a while, it was the most-read story on the weekly paper’s website. To read it, click here.

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