The healthcare war continues in Kentucky, with former governor Steve Beshear forming a nonprofit group with the goal of preventing his successor, Matt Bevin, from dismantling the state's health insurance exchange, Kynect.
Beshear, a Democrat, told the Associated Press that he established the group to hold Bevin, a Republican, accountable for his actions, saying it's more important to care for the health of Kentuckians than it is to make good on a campaign promise that never should have been made. Though Bevin has backed away from his original promise to roll back the state's expansion of its Medicaid program, as the New York Times reports, he is now focusing on transitioning residents to the federal exchange.
Though Kynect has high approval among Kentuckians, Bevin believes it will be less expensive to have the federal government run the state exchange.
Bevin said that according to the Kentucky Hospital Association, the industry lost thousands of hospital jobs in 2015, the AP article adds. Additionally, of the $35 million it took to pay for the state exchange this year, only $3.1 million of it came from plans sold on the exchange; the rest came from a tax on private insurance plans sold off the exchange.
"We cannot afford to have 25 to 30 percent of us on Medicaid," Mr. Bevin said, according to the New York Times.
Beshear's group--Save Kentucky Healthcare--argues that eliminating Kynect will result in more uninsured people, primarily by making it harder to enroll in Medicaid. It says that expanded coverage is a boon to the state, not a drain, and hopes to make its case beginning with online advertising and organizing, the Times reports.