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More than 12-hundred missing in the California wildfires. Also on the Monday rundown: a pair of reports on gun violence in the nation; plus concerns that proposed Green-Card rules favor the wealthy.

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Health Coalition: Gov. Bevin's Plan to Dismantle Kynect a "Bad Deal"

Kentucky's new governor plans to shut down Kynect, the state's health exchange, and redirect Kentuckians to the federal marketplace for insurance. (kynect)
Kentucky's new governor plans to shut down Kynect, the state's health exchange, and redirect Kentuckians to the federal marketplace for insurance. (kynect)
January 13, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The move by Kentucky's new governor to dismantle the state-based health exchange "Kynect" has consumer and health-care advocates sounding alarm bells.

Emily Beauregard, executive director with Kentucky Voices for Health, wants Gov. Matt Bevin to reconsider his decision which would, by late this year, send Kentuckians to the federal marketplace instead.

Beauregard says getting rid of what is considered by many to be the best state health exchange in the nation is a "bad deal" for Kentucky.

"Kynect is right for Kentucky," says Beauregard. "It was built by Kentucky for Kentucky."

Shutting down Kynect was one of the new Republican governor's campaign promises. Bevin has said the state-exchange is redundant.

But Beauregard counters that a "one-size-fits-all" federal exchange is likely to reduce access to health services. She says the state's helpers, known as "kynectors," provide valuable outreach and education to those shopping for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

"They're not just enrolling people in coverage," she says. "They're helping to connect people to a source of care. They're also helping people learn how to navigate the health-care system and understand their insurance. That's what we would lose if we went to the federal exchange."

Bevin recently sent federal officials the required one-year notice that he will close down Kynect. His move will not affect the current enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31.

Health-care advocates note it will cost taxpayers, according to one government estimate, $23 million to dismantle the state exchange. Beauregard believes the costs won't stop there.

"And that's really just for the technical components of dismantling Kynect," says Beauregard. "The true cost is much greater than that, because Kentucky would still be responsible for enrolling our citizens in Medicaid."

One-point-three million Kentuckians receive Medicaid, nearly 30 percent of the state's population.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY