Federal health care reforms have led to the creation of a government agency in Kentucky comparable in staffing to the secretary of state's office, with 30 employees. But it also has scores of contract workers and an annual budget more than 10 times larger, at $39.5 million. The Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange will help more than 600,000 uninsured residents arrange coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Tea party activists are pushing to dismantle Kentucky's new health insurance exchange before it even gets off the ground. After a Thursday board meeting for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange activists said they are supporting a bill to require legislative approval of the exchange, which was created by Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order.
One lesser-known aspect of the Affordable Care Act is it’s reliance on state health cooperatives — which work separate of the state- or federally run health exchange, but are free to offer their own brand of insurance on the exchange.
But recent Congressional deal-making is putting those co-ops in danger.
While states are getting grants to fund their exchanges, co-ops were getting federal loans which had to be paid back within five years.
Despite progress toward building a state-run health insurance exchange in Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear will likely have to re-issue an executive order to keep it alive. Beshear issued an order creating the exchange earlier this year, after the Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act was constitutional. And it’s a goal of state health officials to get the exchange protected under a law, rather than an executive order. Republican State Senator Tom Buford says his colleagues aren’t likely to support an exchange law.
The deadline nears for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to decide how the state will comply with a key component of the federal health care law. Haslam’s administration has been on the fence about whether to recommend a state-run health insurance exchange or to defer to the federal government to create it.