Louisville Public radio outlet WFPL picked up on Kentucky Senate Republicans' effort to defund ObamaCare in the state budget and promptly got almost every pertinent detail of the story wrong. Interestingly, the WFPL version of events doesn't square with complaints of House Democrats.
That's a conflict you almost never see.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo argued yesterday that state funds are needed for ObamaCare, which is the opposite of what Gov. Steve Beshear -- and now WFPL -- insist on. Stumbo is right here, as the federal "Affordable Care Act" and state regulations make clear.
Kentucky is already illegally paying benefits to state employees running the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange without legal authority. Kentucky is also spending millions in Medicaid administration funds without a legislative appropriation. Worse, the federal ACA makes clear that states are responsible for 100% of the costs of running their state-run exchanges as of January 1, 2015 -- which is six months in to the budget currently being negotiated. And large Medicaid administration costs are also required in the new budget if we are to adopt the Medicaid expansion. Senate language forbidding the use of state funds to permanently expand Medicaid or create a new plan like it very effectively kills off the Medicaid expansion.
The greatest likelihood is the legislature will close April 15 without a state budget, which also defunds ObamaCare.