Beshear sets up Health Benefit Exchange

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Updated: 7/17/2012 6:17 pm
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear issued an executive order Tuesday establishing the state’s Health Benefit Exchange.  That’s the online marketplace where people can comparison shop for health coverage as part of President Obama’s health care overhaul.
For Kentucky’s Democratic Governor the tipping point was June 28th, the day the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obama’s health care reform law.  Beshear had said he would move forward with implementation of the exchange if the law was ruled constitutional.
The exchange will not begin operation until January 1, 2014, but the state has to prove its readiness to handle the task by the end of this year or responsibility will default to the federal government.
A leading childrens’ advocate in Kentucky told ABC 36 News on the day of the high court’s ruling that the focus now pivots from Washington D.C. to Frankfort. 
"Suddenly the question becomes what is our readiness and capacity for implementation?” said Terry Brooks, Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director.  “The best comparison we have for A-C-A (reform) in Kentucky is managed care."
Many providers and advocates criticized the state for bungling the switch late last year to managed care of Medicaid.
"Heaven knows there are lessons to be learned from the first steps in managed care,” Brooks said.
Republican leaders at the statehouse opposed the governor’s move. House Minority leader Jeff Hoover has called on Beshear to legally opt out of implementing the law.  The Supreme Court gave states that option.
Hoover says the expansion of Medicaid will be “financially devastating”
The federal government will fund the exchange for the first year, but after that it’s supposed to be funded with money generated by the exchange.

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