The Kentucky Senate and 'big daddy government'

02/22/2013 05:51 PM

Republican Senators sent a message to Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday by requiring the legislature to approve whether Kentucky can accept federal funds to implement portions of the Affordable Care Act.

It is likely to be little more than a message, however, as the bills are unlikely to win support in the Democratic controlled House. Both Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Tom Burch, D-Louisville, have said Kentucky should move forward with the health exchange and that Beshear should agree to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate bills, SB39 and SB40 , are sponsored by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville. She said she filed the bills to provide checks and balances in regard to potentially expanding the Medicaid program and the creation and operation of a Health Benefit Exchange. Beshear last year created the health benefit exchange through executive order.

The votes on the bills went down party lines with a 23-13 vote on SB39 and a 22-12-1 vote on SB40. (Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, passed on a vote on the bill to add legislative approval of the already-established health benefit exchange.)

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.

Senate Republican Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, called the effects of the Affordable Care Act another example of “big daddy government.”

Beshear has not officially said whether he will agree to expand Medicaid, which covers health care for the poor and disabled, to those earning up to 138 percent of the poverty rate. The federal government, under the Affordable Care Act, would cover the cost of it between 2014 and 2017, then the state would have to pick up 5 percent of the expansion costs in 2017. That would rise to 10 percent by 2020.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, spoke in favor of the bill from the Senate floor saying that the bills had nothing to do with politics. Instead, he said it’s an issue of process — making sure that decisions with impacts on the state’s budget can’t be made only by the executive branch.

Former governor and current Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, told Republican Senate members he didn’t buy their argument that the bill was just for checks and balances on the system.

Carroll brought up a vote held in the Government Contract Review Committee where Republicans attempted to block the lease for office space where the Health Benefit Exchange employees would work.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm joined cn|2 in December 2011 as a reporter for Pure Politics. Throughout his career, Nick has covered several big political stories up close, including interviewing President Barack Obama on the campaign trail back in 2008. Nick says he loves being at the forefront of Kentucky politics and working with the brightest journalists in the commonwealth. Follow Nick on Twitter @Nick_Storm. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or



  • Mike wrote on February 23, 2013 10:42 AM :

    Republicans are so consistent about Big Daddy government. They wanted to be so small that it will fit in a woman’s uterus. The hypocrisy smells to high heaven.

  • viewer wrote on February 23, 2013 12:29 PM :

    As I’ve told you before, neither side knows how to deal with this. The same ones that didn’t fund the ARC, over the past 10 years, are now ducking and weaving to blame others; and now we are back to the lottery saving the pension the way they told us it would save higher education. I’m for raising the cigarette tax, but that money should go for health because the smokers will eventually end up in the health care system. The only silver lining I see is Rocky Adkins and Stumbo will finally let down all the workers they gave jobs for votes.

    We have serious problems in our State and the country. All media outlets report the same stories over and over, most of which come from the politicians. To me, the media has become part of the problem. They go to the back of the book and get the answers, but don’t have a clue about what they are reporting. Instead of being reporters, they are recorders repeating what they have been told by the politician. This never gets to the real problems and solutions. Do we have any advocacy or union people? I don’t see anyone that has any ideas how to fix the pension problem, or any other problems we are facing. If you read the Courier, Herald, and even this website, they all say the same things. There is not one person with any ideas outside of the legislature. Do we really not care anymore? The media and the politicians have no clue how to fix this. It’s a shame how far we have let ourselves be dumbed down. Ryan, you have a perfect set up for people to debate ideas and solutions. I have not seen any people debating on your show. Use your platform for the good of the state, and not as a forum of meaningless soundbytes for the same politicians that have gotten us into this.

  • viewer wrote on February 23, 2013 01:40 PM :

    To make my point watch Pure Politics and then stay on cn2 and watch KSTV. They know everything about every player on UK’s sports team. Hows their knee – hows their grades- are they home sick- girlfriend problems- Etc… They talk about what went wrong and what went right each game. What does UK need to do to win the next game , and how they stack up against the other teams in the nation. But we never break down politicians like this. Makes you wonder why we care more about a game , than we do about the way our state and country is ran by our leaders. The young adults are put under the microscope by the media , but our power structure is always behind closed doors , in private hidden from view.

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