Governor moves forward on exchange building lease despite legislative committee's vote

07/18/2012 07:19 AM

Gov. Steve Beshear directed his finance cabinet secretary to sign a lease for an office building to be used for Kentucky’s health benefits exchange — an offshoot of the Affordable Care Act — even after a legislative committee rejected the lease request on Tuesday.

The Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee voted not to approve a $294,540 lease for an office building at 12 Mill Creek Park in Frankfort that would house offices for the new exchange — largely because lawmakers hadn’t been briefed on its purpose and were unaware the governor was about to officially create the exchange.

The legislative committee met at 1 p.m., and Beshear filed his executive order creating the exchanges at 1:10 p.m.

The exchange is meant to match uninsured Kentuckians with insurance. The Affordable Care Act calls for such systems to bridge the gap for those who don’t have health insurance coverage through their jobs but earn too much to qualify for the Medicaid program.

The exchange will be overseen by the Health and Family Services Cabinet, although it will be paid for through 2015 by federal grant funds. Later, the exchange will pay for itself, Beshear said.

In a statement, Beshear said he directed Lori Flanery, the secretary of the finance and administration cabinet, to move forward with signing the lease “in order to make sure that we don’t fall behind on implementation and run the risk of a federal takeover of our health benefits exchange.”

Beshear went on to say in his statement:

“As all our legislators know, if Kentucky doesn’t run the health benefits exchange, the federal government will operate it. Multiple stakeholders – including business groups, hospitals, insurers and health care advocates – have told us loudly and clearly that they don’t want the federal government running this program. I agree with their judgment and recommendation, and said so more than two months ago when we announced we would authorize a state exchange if the Affordable Care Act was upheld.”

The Frankfort office space would be leased from Mill Creek Development, LLC, a firm owned by Edwin Randle and Rick L. Courtney. Neither have been frequent campaign contributors, although one of Courtney’s two political donations to Kentucky candidates over the last 15 years went to Beshear in 2007 — a $1,000 check, according to a review of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance database.


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