Senate panel passes bills requiring legislators to approve Ky. health benefit exchange, Medicaid expansion

02/20/2013 11:38 AM

Senate Republicans sent a message to the governor Wednesday morning that they want to have the last word on the creation of a health care exchange and Medicaid expansion.

Senate Bill 39 and Senate Bill 40 passed the Senate Health and Welfare Committee down party lines with no discussion from members. Both are sponsored by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, who chairs the committee.

The Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, allows states to set up health benefits exchanges that are aimed at matching up uninsured Kentuckians with private health coverage. The state has moved forward with setting up the agency using federal grant money. it will be a part of the state’s Health and Family Services Cabinet.

Gov. Steve Beshear has not announced his decision about whether Kentucky will agree to expand Medicaid to cover Kentuckians earning up to as much as 138 percent of the poverty rate. However Rep. Tom Burch told Pure Politics last week that Beshear told him he will agree to the expansion.

The federal government will cover the full cost of the expansion from 2014 until 2017, then the state’s share will increase to 10 percent of the cost by 2020. Senate Republicans, such as Denton , have expressed concerns for months with the potential costs involved in the program.


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