Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kentucky paints itself into ObamaCare corner

A little-noticed provision in Kentucky's 2012 budget bill exposes a problem to be faced by states dumb enough to enact any part of ObamaCare.

Section 10 on page 296 of Kentucky's HB 265 would enable Kentucky to set up a state health insurance purchasing compact with contiguous states to allow for cross-border buys of health coverage.

Kentucky is actively setting up ObamaCare and is in the process of spending more than any other state in the nation other than New York on ObamaCare.

Kentucky has seven contiguous neighbors. Six of them have expressed an interest in a similar purchasing compact with their neighboring states. Of those six, five have taken specific legislative steps to protect themselves from at least one element of ObamaCare. They would have nothing to gain by combining with Kentucky on health insurance starting in 2014, when ObamaCare kicks in.

That leaves Kentucky and West Virginia, two ObamaCare states, to set up a multi-state health insurance purchasing compact. The way to avoid becoming an ObamaCare state is to avoid setting up a state-run health insurance exchange. Kentucky is too far into that process, with the legislature enabling and Governor Beshear expected to issue an executive order after the elections in November. Even a favorable U.S. Supreme Court ruling later this year may not prevent that from happening if the individual mandate is invalidated but the rest of the law survives.

Our fearless leaders should have at least tried to avoid the insurance exchange trap when they had the chance.