UPDATE: Beshear and Bevin battle over health care policy

Gov. Steve Beshear | Photo provided
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT/AP) - The Latest on former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's effort to oppose Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's effort to dismantle the state's health care program known as kynect:

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6:02 p.m.

He took great pride in the program and now former Governor Steve Beshear has launched an effort to save Kentucky's health insurance exchange.

Current Governor Matt Bevin plans to dismantle Kynect, but Beshear says that would be a huge mistake and he hopes a new campaign will save it.

Governor Matt Bevin is following through on promises made on the campaign trail. He wants to dismantle Kentucky's healthcare system and rebuild. But his predecessor, Governor Steve Beshear, isn't losing his legacy without a fight.

"Governor Bevin will be held accountable for the moves that he makes," Beshear said.

The former governor says it's not a personal issue.

"Governor Bevin prides himself on being a businessman, so he should appreciate hard numbers and facts and evidence."

At the state capitol Thursday Governor Bevin responded to Beshear with some tough talk.

"My job is to govern, not sit on the outside and be an armchair quarterback," Gov. Matt Bevin said.

According to Gov. Bevin debt has to be paid.

"Previous administrations have punted on this, kicked this can down the road, disregarded it and we run the risk of undermining the ability to meet any of our pension obligations unless we address it. I attend to address it."

If Kynect is dismantled Kentuckians would instead sign up on a different site, but Beshear says it's more than that and that Kentuckians would have to pay more for healthcare.

"We're going to lose some battles I don't have any question about it, but we're going to win the war," Beshear said.

"It is unprecedented and a little sad frankly that after eight years that he's still scrambling for a sense of relevancy, but that's entirely up to him," Gov. Matt Bevin said.

Governor Bevin hopes to use the national health exchange by the next open enrollment. Former Governor Beshear has launched a website as part of his campaign to save Kynect, savekyhealthcare.org.
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12:45 p.m.

A statement from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's opposition to his plan to dismantle the state health care program known as Kynect is an effort to promote his political legacy.

Beshear announced "Save Kentucky Healthcare" on Thursday, a tax-exempt organization that will pay for an online campaign that Beshear says will educate voters about what is happening to health care in Kentucky.

As governor, Beshear issued executive orders to expand the state's Medicaid program and establish Kynect, a state-operated exchange where people can purchase private health insurance plans with the help of a federal subsidy. More than 500,000 people have gotten health insurance through the programs, with more than 400,000 of them being added to the state's Medicaid rolls.

Bevin said in a statement that he is "focused on fixing Kentucky's fiscal crisis," which includes $30 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for teachers and state workers.

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11:00 a.m.

Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is launching a major effort to thwart his Republican successor's health care policies.

Beshear announced "Save Kentucky Healthcare" on Thursday, a tax-exempt organization that will pay for an online campaign Beshear says will educate voters about what is happening to health care in Kentucky.

As governor, Beshear issued executive orders to expand the state's Medicaid program and establish kynect, a state-operated exchange where people can purchase private health insurance plans with the help of a federal subsidy. More than 500,000 people have gotten health insurance through the programs, with more than 400,000 of them being added to the state's Medicaid rolls.

Bevin opposes both programs because he says they are too expensive. He is dismantling kynect and wants to repeal the expansion and replace it with a new program.

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7:00 am

Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear says he is starting an advocacy group to oppose Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's plans to dismantle Kynect and scale back the state's Medicaid expansion.

Beshear is scheduled to announce "Save Kentucky Healthcare" during two events Thursday. One will be held in Louisville at 11 a.m. The other will be held in Lexington at the Hyatt Regency at 2 p.m.

In a news release, Beshear said he is troubled by Bevin's plans to roll back what he called Kentucky's nation-leading progress in improving the health of its people.

Beshear left office in December. During his eight years in office, he expanded Kentucky's Medicaid program and created a state-operated health insurance exchange where eligible Kentuckians could purchase discounted private health insurance plans.

Bevin criticized both programs as too expensive. He will dismantle kynect by the end of the year and is trying to replace the Medicaid expansion with a different program.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



 
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