Monday, July 21, 2014

Beshear's $8.5 million ObamaCare/Kynect problem

Governor Steve Beshear filled last year's budget hole last Wednesday with $91 million in funds shifted around from someplace else. One of those other places was Kentucky's ObamaCare exchange, which coughed up $8.5 million for the cause.

The tangled web of problems with this transaction is worth looking into.

Beshear admits up front that the ObamaCare bucks are actually Kentucky Access funds. As Kentucky Access funds, they could be considered "lapsed funds," which a divided Supreme Court just last month declared fair game for General Fund spending. Beshear moved Kentucky Access funds to the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange with an executive order filed in 2013 that expired unratified last Tuesday, the day before Beshear ordered the money to be thrown into the General Fund.

So technically, Beshear didn't raid Kentucky ObamaCare. He raided Kentucky Access, which had unspent tax funds after last fiscal year because Kentucky Access doesn't exist anymore. Otherwise, Beshear would have been taking state funds out of Kentucky ObamaCare, which funds through budget negotiations this spring he insisted did not exist and would not be needed in the new biennium.

But we are in the new biennium and, as Beshear now admits, the ObamaCare exchange does need state funds even though the legislature refused to give him any and explicitly forbade him from spending. Yes, Beshear wrote another executive order in 2014 to replace the old unratified one, but state law very clearly forbids him from doing this.

So if you are keeping score at home, Beshear just raided a fund of $8.5 million that he said in court last year that he wouldn't need even though he knew he did and now he has to replace it even though the legislature has refused to grant him the necessary authority to get it, to replace it or to spend it if he does.

Wouldn't it have been much simpler, Governor, to just be honest and follow the law in the first place? Obamacrats...