Thursday, July 16, 2015

Republicans question need for Kynect; Beshear administration officials say using federal insurance exchange would cost more

With the U.S. Supreme Court approving Obamacare subsidies on the federal health-insurance exchange as well as state exchanges, some Republican legislators in Kentucky say the state should close its exchange, branded as Kynect. But officials of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's administration say that would cost money and do away with a successful project.

"Republicans on the Interim Joint Health and Welfare Committee suggested Wednesday the state may fare better by shuttering kynect in favor of the federal website," Kevin Wheatley reports for cn|2, a news service of TimeWarner Cable. "But Beth Jurek, executive director of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ budget and policy office, said Kynect is better suited for Kentucky customers than the federal exchange and insurers would be charged a higher assessment fee on if the state exchange closes. The debate preceded an 11-11 party-line vote to approve this year’s version of Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order establishing kynect. The tie vote allows the order to remain in effect."

The issue also divides the major-party candidates for governor. The Democratic nominee, Attorney General Jack Conway, says he would keep Kynect, but Republican Matt Bevin says he would move its customers to the federal exchange.

The assessment on insurers for plans sold on is 3.5 percent, while Kynect only assesses 1 percent. "The federal government has already covered costs to launch Kynect, leading Jurek to predict that the state would be responsible for any costs associated with closing the exchange and moving to the federal system, such as creating an interface that allows to determine applicants’ eligibility for Medicaid," Wheatley reports.

"On top of any misgivings about the exchange itself, Beshear’s decision to circumvent a politically divided General Assembly to enact kynect through executive order in 2012 still has some fuming," Wheatley writes, quoting Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee: “I think on the most basic premise, the fact that we deal with this as an executive order is very offensive to me, because we have completely extracted the legislative component from a program that actually touches the lives of everybody who elects us.”

No comments:

Post a Comment