Kentucky Health News
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers challenged Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo Friday to send the Senate two House bills that would preserve the state's embrace of "Obamacare," in order to "have a full, fair debate on the issue" and see where legislators stand on it.
Both would block Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's plans to change the programs, and with the Senate firmly in Republican control, their main sponsor, Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, has said he doesn't expect them to become law. Stivers noted that the bills aren't moving, despite being sponsored by several leaders of the House's Democratic majority.
“I would surmise that what they’re doing is just pandering and playing to a political base even though they don’t believe it’s good,” he said. “If they truly believe it's good, then vote them on the House floor.” Referring to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, he added, “If he votes it on the House floor, we'll vote 'em on the Senate floor.”
“He’s dismantling our Beshearcare here in Kentucky that Kentuckians were so happy to have. So, I'd be happy to have that discussion."
Former Gov. Steve Beshear, founder of non-profit Save Kentucky Healthcare, said in a press release that Stivers and Republican leaders are “once again touting misinformation about Kynect and the state of health care in Kentucky.”
Stivers claimed that the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the state had lost 3,500 health-care jobs while Beshear had promised that the expansion of Medicaid would add 5,400 such jobs in the state by bringing more people into the health care system, creating jobs and tax revenue.
Actually, BLS data show that while hospitals lost employment, overall employment in the health-care and social-assistance sector has gone up 4.6 percent since Obamacare was fully implemented in January 2014, compared to 3.1 percent job growth in all other Kentucky sectors, says Jason Bailey of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. (KCEP chart)