With "uncertainty" removed, Ky. to move forward with health care exchanges, Beshear says

06/28/2012 01:01 PM

Gov. Steve Beshear said he will officially create through executive order the state-run health care exchanges for uninsured Kentuckians in the wake of Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

“This Supreme Court decision removes much of the uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act,” Beshear said. “Kentucky has been systematically preparing to meet the implementation deadlines set forth in the bill as a precautionary matter, and now we will move ahead to establish a state-operated Health Benefit Exchange.”

Kentucky already is seeking health care companies to run its exchange for uninsured Kentuckians as allowed by the Affordable Care Act.

Health Cabinet Secretary Audrey Haynes, who was traveling outside Frankfort today and unavailable for an interview, said in a statement that the cabinet is “developing plans for a series of forums to gather input from around the state” about the exchanges.

“We continue to review the ruling to fully understand all the implications of the decision,” Haynes said.

Kentucky would have to add about 320,000 enrollees to Medicaid, which covers health care for the poor and disabled, as required by another provision in the Affordable Care Act. Those would be added to the more than 800,000 current Medicaid enrollees, meaning that about a quarter of all Kentuckians would rely on that state-federal program for its health coverage.

Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, said the ruling was a “huge tax on our job creators, especially small and medium sized employers.”

Democratic state Senator Gerald Neal of Louisville told Pure Politics Thursday that the decision would actually save money over time and bring in millions of people who are uninsured.

“What a lot of people fail to realize is that those tens of millions, those 30 or so million people that are now under this – these provisions. If you don’t do this, what that means is that they end up at your emergency rooms, that raises your premiums. You pay these anyways. Companies, big companies, small companies you either pay it now or you pay it later,” Neal said. “This is a rational plan that’s manageable that’s projected to save costs going forward.”


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