GOP lawmaker files bill to send governor, his cabinet and legislators into health exchange

12/15/2013 06:52 PM

If the governor believes in the merits of the Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange, then he and his cabinet and the 138 members of the General Assembly should have to go through the exchange for their insurance, says GOP Rep. Robert Benvenuti.

Benvenuti, of Lexington, pre-filed a bill Friday that would require that.

“Our governor and Democratic members of the General Assembly have been strong
advocates of the Affordable Care Act and the exchange,” Benvenuti said in a phone interview Friday. “Yet they have refused to stand in the shoes of those who are being affected.”

Under the bill, the governor, executive cabinet members and the 138 lawmakers will be pulled out of the state employee insurance system and can either go through the exchange or purchase insurance on their own. Lawmakers currently have the option of buying their own insurance now and are eligible for $175 per month in premium assistance. Benvenuti said he has private insurance and turned down the $175 a month.

The proposed bill wouldn’t affect any other state employees or retirees.

“This exchange does not provide access to quality health care. So the last thing I want is to put those folks on the exchange,” Benvenuti said.

Democratic lawmakers have defended the exchange and the Affordable Care Act, saying it will allow hundreds of thousands of uninsured Kentuckians to get matched up with coverage so that they don’t have to wait until it’s medically too late and even more expensive to get needed care.

Benvenuti has argued that the exchange, as set up through the Affordable Care Act, won’t work because the underlying concepts behind the federal law are flawed.

See why in the interview segment below. Benvenuti makes suggestions for alternatives to expand coverage to the uninsured during a Dec. 11 interview:

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