Stivers and Senate GOP to ramp up 'dialogue' on Affordable Care Act flaws in Kentucky

11/22/2013 03:06 PM

State Senate Republicans, led by Senate President Robert Stivers, say they will ramp up their criticism of Kentucky’s embrace of the Affordable Care Act in hopes of leading to changes or perhaps the rollback of some of the health coverage programs.

Gov. Steve Beshear used executive orders to expand Medicaid to cover those making between the federal poverty rate and 138 percent of that level, as well as the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, which is designed to match up the 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians with either Medicaid or private coverage.

Senate Republicans tried this year to pass a bill that called for legislative approval of those measures, but it died in the House. And Stivers said he wants to continue “that dialogue” into the 2014 session, although he said the end-game at this point would be to raise concerns about what isn’t working with the federal law.

On Thursday at the Kentucky Hospital Association’s health leadership conference, Stivers declined to say whether he thought Beshear overstepped his bounds by using executive orders to create the health exchange, which led to regulations that charge 1 percent fees on insurance coverage to pay for the set-up.

But Stivers said he envisions Republicans taking a broader approach in this “dialogue.”

Republicans in the legislature took a step toward that Wednesday at the end of a marathon Health and Welfare Committee meeting in Louisville. As the Courier-Journal reported , Republican lawmakers voted to reject the regulations governing Medicaid expansion and the health benefits exchange. But the Courier-Journal quoted Democrats as dismissing the vote as symbolic because the committee didn’t have a quorum.

Stivers also acknowleged that Kentucky’s exchange has out-performed other states with more than 42,000 uninsured Kentuckians getting matched to coverage through Medicaid and another 10,000 signing up for private insurance through the exchange.

“But the product that’s being sold is wrong,” Stivers told Pure Politics on Thursday:

Stivers was referring to the 280,000 people who have received notices that their existing policies would be cancelled.

Here’s what else he said about what he means by “starting a dialogue” about the expanded health programs thanks to the Affordable Care Act:

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