KY lawmaker says governor should get health insurance through - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KY lawmaker says governor should get health insurance through state exchange

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ky. Gov. Steve Beshear has been a very vocal supporter of the Affordable Care Act, but now one lawmaker wants him to put his health insurance where his mouth is.

So far, nearly 85,000 people have signed up for health coverage through the state health insurance exchange. And if one lawmaker has his way, the governor's name will be added to the list.

"If you're going to make the rules, as legislator or as a governor, then live by the rule." So says Rep. Robert Benvenuti of Lexington, who does not like Obamacare.

"It is absolutely not sustainable," he said.

But he says if Gov. Beshear wants it, he should have to live with it.

"What's good for the goose, right?"

Benvenuti has pre-filed a bill that would require the governor, his cabinet, and every member of the General Assembly to drop their state health plans and get coverage through the state or federal health insurance exchange.

"And in fact, I shouldn't have had to file this bill. I would have been hopeful that folks who believe this is best for Kentuckians should have been the first ones in the pool," said Benvenuti.

Benvenuti says he's especially unhappy that the Kentucky exchange was never put to a vote in the General Assembly, and that since the health care law went into effect, thousands of Kentuckians have had their old policies canceled.

"This was all done by Executive Order and with the great applause of the Democrats in the House and in the Senate. So now it's time for them to feel the same pain that 280,000 Kentuckians are feeling," he said.

In a statement, Gov. Beshear said the exchange is all about giving the public access to the kind of coverage state employees already enjoy.

He went on to blast the bill.

"We all know that this bill is not about getting us insurance - it's about silly political games that take time away from the work we really need to be doing, like creating quality jobs and quality schools.

The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land -- Congress passed it, the President signed it, and the United States Supreme Court upheld it. It is time that its detractors get over it," said Beshear. 

But Benvenuti, an attorney who practices health care law, is not backing down.

"If it's our governor's position that this is best for Kentucky -- to separate people from their private health insurance plans and to force them into the exchange, then it ought to be good enough for the governor, his executive staff and members of the General Assembly," Benvenuti said.

Though Benvenuti says he optimistic, his bill is probably a long shot -- likely to face strong opposition in both the Republican Senate and the Democratic House.

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