Two bills aimed at keeping the state’s health benefit exchange, Kynect, and an expanded Medicaid population were heard in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Monday but did not have enough votes to make it to the Senate floor.
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee 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.
The long committee meeting served as a way for people on both sides of the issue to express their thoughts on the state’s health care system and the changes it is currently experiencing.
Sponsor Rep. Daryl Owens and others spoke in favor of former Gov. 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 Kynect and move to the new system Benefind, which has seen its share of problems since its rollout.
On the other hand, opponents of the systems testified Kynect is redundant, will not be self-sustaining and the state cannot afford the expanded Medicaid population. Secretary of Health and Family Services Vicki Yates Brown Glisson stated that the Kentuckians purchasing health care on Kynect will be able to do the same on the federal website and that the administration is working through the issues with Benefind.
After three hours of testimony in the committee meeting, legislators voted on a motion to pass both bills out with no expression—meaning they would reach the Senate floor for further debate. However, the bills did not receive enough yes votes to get it to the floor. Therefore, both bill have now reached their ends in the legislative process ahead of the final day of session.