Kentucky Guv Begins Process Of Closing State’s Obamacare Exchange

ASSOCIATED PRESS

It looks like Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) will be following through on at least one of his anti-Obamacare campaign promises. The Courier-Journal reported Monday that Bevin sent a letter dated Dec. 30 to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell informing the agency he will be dismantling the popular state exchange program Kynect and transitioning to the federal health care marketplace.

The transition will not affect Kentuckians using Kynect during this current open enrollment period that ends Jan. 31, The Courier-Journal said, and Bevin has made it a goal to complete the switch by the end of 2016.

In a statement, HHS spokesman Ben Wakana said the feds were “committed to work with the state on a seamless transition.”

“Kentucky’s State-based Marketplace has helped tens of thousands of Kentuckians shop for and purchase quality, affordable health insurance,” he said. “A successful transition from Kynect to the federal Marketplace will require strong cooperation and commitment from the state of Kentucky to its residents who have gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.”

At the outset of Bevin’s gubernatorial campaign, he appeared ready pull out Obamacare out of Kentucky by the root, but as the campaign went on, the Tea Party-backed politician softened some of those promises.

For instance, he backed off vows to eliminate the Medicaid expansion in the state and has instead announced plans to work with the HHS on a voucher program akin to Indiana’s.

As for the exchanges, health care policy experts told TPM back in November that the transition might cause some disruptions for users, but wouldn’t have a major impact on the benefits Kentuckians receive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK