360 Fireworks Party

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


by Michael Monks 
"We want to be open and transparent," said City Manager Larry Klein. Dates are set for public input sessions to discuss the reorganization and plans for budget cuts at City Hall. There will be two public meetings, one for police & fire recommendations, and another for code enforcement and community development. Details and background at the link.
Full story: The River City News 
Kentucky has moved forward in its role in implementing a portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare. From the office of Governor Steve Beshear (words in bold emphasized by RCN):
Governor Steve Beshear today issued an executive order establishing the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, a requirement of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange is an online marketplace that will provide one-stop shopping for individuals to enroll in qualified health coverage plans. Those plans may be offered through the exchange or coverage through other federal or state health care programs, including Medicaid and the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP).

“Since the Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, Kentuckians who have had difficulty finding or qualifying for affordable health coverage will be able to do so by visiting the state’s online Health Benefit Exchange,” Gov. Beshear said. “We will work closely with insurers, providers, consumers and other groups to develop a robust, responsive, and user-friendly portal that will help Kentuckians find the coverage that best suits their needs.”

The Exchange will also assist employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in health plans, enable individuals to receive premium tax credits and premium subsidies and qualify small businesses for tax credits. The Exchange will begin operation Jan. 1, 2014.

Gov. Beshear announced in May his intent to issue an order establishing a state-operated exchange provided the United States Supreme Court upheld the federal ACA, which it did on June 28. 
Kentucky must demonstrate readiness to operate a state health benefit exchange by the end of 2012, or that responsibility will default to the federal government.
Several interest groups representing employers, health care advocates, and citizens, including the Kentucky Hospital Association, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Voices for Health, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield have expressed that the Commonwealth, not the federal government, should operate the exchange for the state. 
“Kentucky is more in tune with the unique regional and economic needs of our citizens, as well as the health insurance needs of individuals, Kentucky small businesses and nonprofits,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “By establishing a state-operated exchange, we can also better coordinate the new eligibility and enrollment system within the current Medicaid program.” 
The Executive Order issued today establishes the Office of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, which will oversee the implementation and operations of the Exchange. The office will be housed in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). 
The Cabinet and the Department of Insurance have been involved in planning for the Exchange since 2010. The Commonwealth has received three exchange grants from the Federal Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) totaling $66.4 million for planning and implementation of a state exchange. 
The development and operation of the Kentucky Exchange will be funded entirely with federal dollars until Jan. 1, 2015, after which the Exchange will be wholly funded with revenues it generates.

Gov. Beshear selected Carrie Banahan to serve as executive director of the Office of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. A career state employee with experience in the Department of Insurance and the Department of Medicaid Services, Banahan currently serves as the executive director of the Office of Health Policy within the Cabinet. She will remain acting executive director of health policy until a permanent replacement is named. 
Order Creates Exchange Advisory BoardThe Governor’s executive order also establishes an 11-member Exchange Advisory Board. 
Nominees for the panel representatives must have relevant experience in health benefits administration, health care finance, health plan purchasing, health care delivery system administration, public health, or health policy related to the small group and individual markets and the uninsured. 
Gov. Beshear expects to announce appointments to the advisory board by mid-August. The Governor will appoint the chair of the advisory board from the appointees to the 11-member panel.
There will be public forums across the Commonwealth to decribe in detail what the new program means. The first one is Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at Northern Kentucky University's METS Center auditorium from 1:00 - 3:30PM.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Republicans block the approval of leasing a space to operate the exchange:
...the Kentucky General Assembly's Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee rejected, on a 3-4 partisan vote, a proposal by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to spend $294,540 for rental space to accommodate 210 employees associated with the health insurance exchange.
Despite the vote, Finance Secretary Lori Flanery has the authority to override the oversight committee's decision and let the rental project proceed. Beshear said late Tuesday that Flanery will sign the lease "in order to make sure that we don't fall behind on implementation and run the risk of a federal takeover of our health benefits exchange."
Herald-Leader/Jack Brammer
US Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) applauded the Governor:
I commend Gov. Steve Beshear and thank him for his leadership in establishing the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, which will provide tens of thousands of Kentuckians with access to affordable, high-quality health insurance options. A critical component of the Affordable Care Act, the state-based exchanges – which will be available in 2014 – offer individuals and small businesses more choice and control in their health coverage while also helping bring down the cost of care for all consumers.
SEE ALSO: CVG approves lease deal for Southern Air Business Courier  
"We are not stepping up to the plate." How black men in Covington are trying to rally each other to better their community for the kids; Where does Covington rank on the Geography of Tolerance map?; Plus, a Holy Cross baseball player is invited to a prestigious event. Those stories and more at the link!
Sen. McConnell successfully blocks federal Disclose Act WFPL 
Miners weather storm of coal's demise WFPL 
Has President Obama really declared a "War on Coal"? CBS News 
Republicans hope to block measures that would fight black lung disease WFPL 
UK Hospital is ranked #1 in the state, St. Elizabeth locations in top 7 US News & World Report 
Jury: Boss in Boone County owes former employee $2 million Cincinnati Enquirer 
| Secretary of State reminds Kentuckians of new business entity laws press release  |
Bardstown is ranked the most beautiful small town in America while Murray is chosen as the friendliest USA Today 
Kentucky's new Chief Appeals Judge moonlights in a rock band Herald-Leader 
Reds TV ratings among best in nation Business Courier  
From the blog of the Kentucky Department of Education:
At Holmes Middle School (Covington Independent), disco balls and baseball bats are routine academic tools. Characters like Tara Bullvoice show up to rap about five-paragraph essays. And students will listen to Alanis Morisette’s “Ironic” before defining irony and explaining two examples in the song. 
“It’s not your traditional stand-and-lecture series,” said teacher Travece Turner, who teaches 8th-grade language arts. “This allows me to be creative as a teacher and really push myself to think outside the box.” 
Turner and other teachers in the Covington Independent school district recently wrapped up their second year using the Ron Clark Academy teaching approach. This approach focuses on unique, creative approaches to presenting content while addressing student confidence and focus. 
“My favorite thing about using Ron Clark’s method is the excitement and passion for learning that I see in my students,” 8th-grade English teacher Elizabeth Wolf said. 
“They are more engaged and really seem to enjoy learning. The methods also motivate students to be more creative and involved in the learning process.” Wolf will routinely dress up in character to present lessons. While students were preparing for their K-PREP tests last spring, she became Dr. Ima Reader, who talked to students who were dealing with text anxiety. She would present a case involving mock students like Stayaway Stephanie or Worried Wendy, who was apprehensive about testing. Students then discussed the form of test anxiety, they would diagnose the ailment with a creative name (anxianosis or testinitis) and find a cure (have confidence, face your fears or take a practice test). 
“I also perform skits for them dressed like characters from books and stories we are reading,” Wolf said. “I write and sing raps to help my students remember content. In my room, you might find students singing a motivational chant (some while standing on desks), classical music playing while students work at their tables or sports jams to get students energized and alert.”
Read the rest: Kentucky Teacher 
From Covington Partners:
Covington Partners 3rd Annual Golf Outing was our most successful ever! On a hot July day, 88 golfers braved the links to raise friends and funds to support Covington students and families. Thank you to everyone who made this event a success, including our Star Sponsor; The Bank of Kentucky, our Course Sponsor; Traditions Golf Club, our Food Sponsor; Queensgate Foodservice and our Hole In One Sponsor; Lexus Rivercenter. Many thanks also to our hole sponsors, volunteers and board members!
The River City News was a proud sponsor of one hole during the golf outing:
Check out a bunch of photos from the golf out: Covington Partners 
Congratulations to Rosa Mejia of Covington for winning the Miss Teen Kenton County pageant at the Kenton County Fair. Her proud parents are Bethany and Raul Mejia.
I always tell people that Covington is not a "small town", but that it's a "small city" with city benefits, amenities, and problems. The Atlantic Cities, my favorite online magazine, covers the appeal of small city living in a profile on Ann Arbor, Michigan:
I've lived in Chicago, New York, Washington, and Tokyo. And now, I’m back in Ann Arbor, the town where I was born. Only I’m not standing on our Main Street and despairing. 
Turns out my years living in big cities have given me an unexpected education in getting the most out of small city life. They’ve helped me discover what’s most important to me: a lively, diverse community, with access to good food, the arts, the world around us, and a comfortable place to live that’s also affordable on a freelancer’s budget. 
Of course, Ann Arbor is unique. Thanks to the University of Michigan, a good-sized number of Ann Arborites have lived in other big places. We’ve learned to recognize each other almost instantly, much as Greeks and Canadians do. (It may have to do with wearing black most of the time, even in our 90-degree summer.) 
Compared with the surrounding Detroit area, "It’s like an island," my friend Luke Song, who designed Aretha Franklin’s inaugural hat, remarked when I told him I was writing this piece. "Ann Arbor – the city that everyone loves," Rufus Wainwright said on stage at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival last month.
Full story: The Atlantic Cities 
SEE ALSO: The next wave of urban growth will come from mid-size cities Harvard Business Review  
WELCOME HOUSE WILL TAKE OLD BIKES From the Pike Street social service agency:
Do you have a men's bike taking up space in your garage? We would gladly accept new or used bikes, our clients often used them for transportation to work. Please call Jen Amos at 859-431-8717.
PHOTOS: Check out the slideshow of the Big Pig Gig in Cincinnati Business Courier 
ead more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/17/2261526/beshear-creates-health-benefit.html#storylink=rss?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#storylink=cpy

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