Givens doesn't want to go to court over health exchange but says governor overstepped his powers

09/27/2012 09:40 PM

The Republican state senator who first publicly questioned the governor’s ability to set up via executive order a new agency to comply with the Affordable Care Act said he doesn’t plan to go to court over the issue.

But Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, isn’t backing away from his belief that Gov. Steve Beshear overstepped his bounds by creating a new agency — the Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange — without the the legislature’s approval. He said the law is clear that the governor can merely rearrange existing agencies.

“That statute does not give authority for the creation of a new entity with a new task that has not been authorized by the General Assembly. And in this case the Governor cites the need and a pressing timeline are reasons enough that he has that authority” (at :40).

Beshear set up the health exchange with the help of more than $60 million in federal grant money to comply with the Affordable Care Act. It calls for states to establish entities that will be up and running by January 2014 to match uninsured citizens with health insurance. The exchanges mostly will serve those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but don’t have health insurance through their jobs.

The joint interim Health and Welfare Committee has met twice in the last six weeks to hear from officials setting up the exchange. Lawmakers had wanted answers about what it what it will cost. However, Givens says the lack of answers from the officials is part of his frustrations.

“How can we know this is a good thing for us to do? We don’t know the cost of implementation, we don’t know the number of insurers who are actually going to offer plans, we can’t even forecast the number that may offer plans,” he said (at 5:40).

In reference to the walk out of Democratic lawmakers during a meeting of the committee, Givens says he is ready to have the discussion about the exchange and make the decisions when they are presented with the information he feels they need.

“I’d love to be engaged in an honest debate and discussion with people who stay in the room about the future of what this portion of the Affordable Care Act or ‘Obamacare’ looks like because it is a foundational piece of that” (at 6:30).


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