Beshear: GOP playing "politicial games" with health exchange, says he has authority to create it

09/20/2012 05:41 PM

Governor Steve Beshear said the actions of Republican lawmakers at Wednesday’s interim joint committee on Health and Welfare, “don’t mean anything,” and he will continue to implement the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange.

Beshear, who is fresh off an economic development trip to India, said he has the authority to create the exchange through executive order. And he said it was prudent for Kentucky to do so because the Affordable Care Act, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, calls for some type of system to match the uninsured with health coverage. If Kentucky’s government didn’t set up the exchange, the federal government would and it would penalize the state.

“Some of these folks just want to play political games, and I understand it. I guess it’s an election year. I don’t have time for it. I have to run this state. I have to make things happen. And I have to comply with federal law, and that’s what I’m stepping out to do,” Beshear said.

Beshear spoke with Pure Politics while in Lexington attending the official public welcome ceremony for international law firm Bingham McCutchen LLC, which is moving its administrative office there.

The exchange is the entity that will match up uninsured Kentuckians with private health insurance. It will specifically serve those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but don’t have insurance through their jobs.

Republicans, led by Sen. David Givens of Greensburg, said during a legislative health and welfare committee meeting Wednesday that the governor didn’t have the authority to create a new agency with new functions without legislative approval. When Democratic lawmakers walked out, the Republicans voted by voice on a motion to reject Beshear’s executive order creating the exchange as a new agency under the Health and Family Services Cabinet.

While it doesn’t seem likely Beshear and Republican lawmakers will smooth over their differences on the issue, he did say it doesn’t seem likely the complaint will be heard in court.

“I don’t see any court action. All they did was grand stand a little bit, and I’m kind of used to that,” Beshear said.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm joined cn|2 in December 2011 as a reporter for Pure Politics. Throughout his career, Nick has covered several big political stories up close, including interviewing President Barack Obama on the campaign trail back in 2008. Nick says he loves being at the forefront of Kentucky politics and working with the brightest journalists in the commonwealth. Follow Nick on Twitter @Nick_Storm. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or



  • Cat Balz wrote on September 20, 2012 06:24 PM :

    Gee willikers, Mr. Burns done got himself all riled up there. I didn’t get to listen to it all because his voice broke my twang meter.

  • David Adams wrote on September 20, 2012 10:54 PM :

    Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: Steve Beshear does not “run the state.” He is chief executive of state government. The people run the state.

  • Allen wrote on September 21, 2012 08:49 AM :

    That is because, GOV Beshear, they are acting on the peoples will. The majority DO NOT WANT the so called health exchanges and want the mess repealed in Jan by Congress. You may have the ‘LAW’ on your side, but you are governing AGAINST the will of the people. History will not paint you as a loved, or popular governor. I assume you are ok with that. Good luck. Oh, since most states sent the Obamacare exchange monies back to DC, KY will have to payback next year what you are spending this year. Thank you.

  • MikeTirp wrote on September 21, 2012 01:07 PM :

    This is the death panel that Hussein claimed did not exist in obamcare.

  • waybert17 wrote on September 21, 2012 01:16 PM :

    Why even have a Kentucky House and Senate (let’s save some money by getting rid of them)…if the Governor, in this case Beshear, can do whatever he wants?

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on September 21, 2012 06:07 PM :

    Senator Givens district has one of the highest number of people without health coverage and high amount of health related illness. It’s wierd how politicians like him can turn their back on ordinary voters about some of the most important things, but be their hero.

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