Attorney General Andy Beshear says Gov. Bevin's decision to end kynect 'bad deal' for consumers

01/12/2016 07:48 PM

Attorney General Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, whose father former Gov. Steve Beshear implemented kynect and the expansion of Medicaid in Kentucky, is now watching as Republican Gov. Matt Bevin dismantles that legacy.

In an interview with Pure Politics, Beshear said the move to shut down Kentucky’s health-care delivery website is bad policy and bad for the people of Kentucky.

“I think this move, if they stay with it, is really bad policy,” Beshear said. “As the attorney general I am the chief advocate for consumers — including consumers that get their health insurance through kynect. If they are moved from kynect to the federal exchange they will likely pay more and be subject to all of those issues that we’ve read about with the federal exchange.

“Whether it’s issues with the website, some tax issues on the background … it is a bad deal for Kentucky consumers.”

On Monday, the Louisville Courier-Journal was first to report that Bevin had notified the federal government of his intent to shut down the exchange and transition to the federal website, which has been plagued with issues.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services estimates that shutting down the state’s portal to affordable health insurance will cost Kentucky $23 million.

“This is an amount of money the state will spend that it doesn’t have to,” he said.

For Beshear, that’s money that could be going to other endeavors including drug treatment.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, a left-leaning think-tank, published an info graphic which illustrates some of the areas in need of cash that the $23 million could used on including more classroom teachers; upgrades for state police, including body armor and salary increases; additional school funding; and 9,200 additional slots for drug treatment programs.

As Bevin’s administration begins the process of ending kynect, they have yet to consult with Beshear on the legal issues, though it is still early. Beshear was officially sworn in Jan. 4.

“On the legal end, understand that this has never been done before. No state has ever dismantled a successful exchange — why would they?” Beshear said. “It works. It’s providing a great service to consumers.”

If approached, Beshear said he would give advice to the Bevin administration — though he would also advocate for the website to be kept in place and those dollars spent on other needed policies.

Watch Pure Politics on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. for more on the issues and on politics with Beshear.


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