House passes out Health Care bills on party lines after lengthy debate

The House of Representatives passed out two highly political bills Tuesday evening dealing with the Affordable Care Act after a heated partisan debate.

The House heard House Bill 5, which calls for Kentucky to continue to operate a state-based healthcare exchange and provide the current same functions as Kynect and House Bill 6, which continues the current expansion of the Medicaid program. Sponsor Rep. Daryl Owens and others spoke in favor of Governor Steve Beshear’s Executive Orders implementing Medicaid Expansion and establishing Kynect saying they have been positive for Kentucky and have served as a national model. Many stated that it does not make sense to dismantle a system that is currently working and move to a system that is unknown.

Opponents stated that Governor Bevin has established Benefind, a replacement for Medicaid recipients using Kynect, which is a portal that is a one-stop for anyone that may qualify for government assistance. In addition, Kentuckians who have used Kynect to access insurance will be able to transition to the federal health care exchange.

During the debate, Rep. Russell Webber voiced opposition to the bills, but stated that he appreciated that the bills were introduced, as the legislature has never had an opportunity to vote on these critical issues because they were done by Executive Order.

After a lengthy debate and discussion on House Bills 5 and 6 both bills passed out on party lines.

Both bills now move to the Senate where they are expected to die.

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