In a move sure to reignite debate with Republicans, Gov. Steve Beshear has bypassed the legislature to reauthorize the state's insurance exchange.
While the courts have so far backed Beshear’s authority to implement the federal health care law without legislative approval, Republicans continue to challenge the governor’s authorization of the state’s health benefits exchange, known as Kynect.
Beshear has entered similar orders for the past two years – over which time more than 420,000 Kentuckians have signed up for Medicaid or private coverage through the exchange. Next year, the governor says Kynect will be able to sustain itself financially. That’s also when federal funding for the exchange will expire.
In 2015, Kynect will begin operating on a $27M annual budget funded through a 1 percent assessment placed on participating insurance companies.
The Republican-led Senate passed two bills in 2013 that would have mandated legislative approval for the exchange and Medicaid expansion, but neither bill survived votes by the Democratic majority in the House.