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Health Sharing Bill Moves Onto Full State Senate

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A bill that would allow exemptions for Christian health sharing organizations to operate in Kentucky sailed over it first hurdle in a Senate committee.

Senate Bill 3 is known as the Medishare bill, named for the health sharing organization Christian Care Medishare, which was recently kicked out of Kentucky by the Department of Insurance. Medishare operates by pooling money to help pay for members medical bills.

The bill would allow Medishare to re-start operations in Kentucky by giving it an exemption under current state insurance law.

DeWayne Walker was a member of Medishare and said the group helped pay a large amount of the medical bills when his wife got cancer.

"My wife found out she had breast cancer in 2010, so you know what that means.  And Christian Medishare has paid over a quarter of a million dollars for her care and she didn't just receive any care, she received the best care, from the technicians to the chemo folks," he said.

Robert Baldwin, a spokesman for Medishare, argued for the bill on the grounds that no Medishare member ever complained about the organization in Kentucky.

"In 19 years there's never been one member that has complained about Medishare to the department of the secretary of state," he said.

The bill passed the Senate Banking and Insurance committee unanimously.

Kenny Colston is the Frankfort Bureau Chief for Kentucky Public Radio (a collaborative effort of public radio stations in Kentucky). Colston has covered Kentucky's Capitol and state government since 2010. He is a Louisville native, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. When he's not tracking down stories about Kentucky politics, you can often find him watching college sports, particularly football.
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