Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Chief At Odds With Bevin Over Kynect

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson says he’s at odds with Governor-elect Matt Bevin over dismantling Kentucky’s health care exchange.

The chamber backed a state-run exchange rather than a federal one when the Affordable Care Act was implemented, Adkisson told Kentucky Public Radio member WKMS following the Murray-Calloway Chamber of Commerce Breakfast.

“Our feeling was we’d rather have an exchange created in Kentucky and run by Kentuckians than we would a federal exchange, so that puts us at odds to some extent with the campaign position that Gov. Matt Bevin took,” said Adkisson. “So it’s going to be interesting to see how all that works out.”

Last week, Bevin became just the second Republican to win an election for Kentucky governor since the early 1970s in a campaign that focused largely on health care.

On Friday, the governor-elect said dismantling the state-run health care exchange, called Kynect, would be a top priority for his administration. He also said he’ll seek to roll back the state’s Medicaid expansion, another initiative undertaken by outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Bevin has said Kynect is redundant because the federal government also runs a health care exchange.

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Adkisson said the Medicaid expansion and examining whether the state can afford taking on its future costs will be a major challenge for Bevin.

Another hotly contested issue in the 2015 campaign was right-to-work legislation, which would prohibit union dues as a condition of employment.

Bevin, a Louisville businessman, supports right-to-work, and Adkisson said he agrees.

“So with a new governor firmly espousing right-to-work, the business community firmly behind right-to-work — it will have momentum, I think it will get hearings in a couple of legislative sessions,” Adkisson said.

He noted that the Democratic-controlled state House presents an obstacle.

“Clearly the House of Representatives is not there yet — they will probably resist that,” Adkisson said. “But I think right-to-work is going to come to Kentucky at some point, the question is how much political fervor will there be between now and then?”

The Kentucky General Assembly convenes on Jan 5. Bevin takes office on Dec. 8.