Politics
12:01 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

Legislators Unlikely to Put State Health Exchange into Law

Audrey Haynes
Credit Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Gov. Steve Beshear will likely have to re-issue his executive order to keep the state’s health exchange running. 

Beshear started the exchange — part of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare — earlier this year through an executive order and state health officials have forged ahead with its creation.

But unless the Kentucky General Assembly takes up the issue to puts it into law, it's likely Beshear’s original order will have to be re-issued to keep work on the exchange moving forward.

State officials' goal is to put the exchange into law, but that's unlikely to happen in the upcoming legislative session, said Audrey Haynes, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

“I think that we will need to codify at some point the executive order to create the exchange, but I suspect if it doesn’t get passed that the governor will just re-issue it to move forward,” she said.

Republican lawmakers have consistently rejected the state-run exchange, saying they would rather have a federally run exchange in Kentucky. 

Republican State Sen. Tom Buford said his peers aren’t likely to put the exchange into law in 2013.

“Probably not, in my opinion, we will probably allow the governor to re-order the executive order again," he says.

Here's the concern about an exchange created through an executive order: A future governor could easily rescind the order, stopping the exchange immediately if he or she  so chose. 

Democratic State Rep. Susan Westrom said her chamber is unlikely to attempt to codify the exchange in 2013 as well.