The old adage goes that “elections have consequences.” This is playing out true in Kentucky, where the election of Governor-Elect Matt Bevin is raising all sorts of concerns in our capital city. Gov.-elect Matt Bevin has publicly stated that he intends to dismantle Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare”. The unintended consequence of doing so is that approximately 500,000 Kentuckians may lose their healthcare coverage through the exchange.
While it’s unfortunate that 500,000 Kentuckians may lose their coverage, Gov.-elect Bevin may be saving our commonwealth from a bigger problem, a collapse or a serious underfunding of the state’s medical coverage as a whole. It may be that Gov.-elect Bevin is already proving himself valuable to the commonwealth, even before being sworn in on Dec. 9 later this year.
Kentucky’s ACA Exchange was created by Executive Order (2015-387) which established the exchange under Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration. The State Senate nor the State House were ever consulted in the establishment of the exchange. Indeed, Gov. Beshear rode roughshod over the legislative process in the act of establishing the exchange. No bills were proposed in the House or Senate chambers, nor any legislation made of it. Even if the governor did present a bill in general assembly, it would have failed in the Senate, where the GOP majority would have stopped the exchange. Obamacare, even though it’s covering people, is still unpopular in the conservative state.
Rep. Joni Jenkins in an interview with WFPL’s Jan’el Johnson, stated “that we have a very successful model exchange that is very unique for our state”. The uniqueness of the exchange is only unique in the fact that it was created via Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order.
Executive orders, no matter what they are, can be rescinded by future administrations.
Did Steve Beshear, in his desire for expediency, fail as a governor by not leading the General Assembly through the legislative process to create a legislative structure for the existence of the healthcare exchange to institute the provision as law?
While many are quick to place blame at the incoming governor, they forget that if the outgoing governor had mustered the courage to want to pass a law, the 500,000 or so people insured under Kynect, may have kept their coverage.
Other states, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, and other states’ legislatures all set up their exchange via the passage of state laws.
State laws are harder to change than executive orders.