ACA/Kynect Not Working for Kentuckians

by Pat Moynahan on October 27, 2015

Adam Howard, Florence Rotary Club President; Robert Stivers, Kentucky State Senate President; and John Schickel, Kentucky State Senator

Adam Howard, Florence Rotary Club President; Robert Stivers, Kentucky State Senate President; and John Schickel, Kentucky State Senator.

FLORENCE – Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers believes tax reforms are needed to maintain a healthy living environment in the commonwealth.

“We need to expand the tax base and increase opportunities,” the London Republican said. “We need to attract more businesses and people into the state.

“I don’t want to see the people in this room pay more taxes. I want to see more people in the room who are paying taxes.”

Stivers spoke to the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, Oct 19, about issues facing the Kentucky General Assembly next year. Among the most pressing are tax reform, pension reform and health care, he said.

Reforming tax policies will encourage investment, employability and economic growth, according to Stivers. To illustrate, he pointed to a change in taxes on the bourbon industry that cost the state $12 million in revenue but stimulated $750 million in investment in expansion of the industry.

“The net expansion was good for the economy although we lost tax dollars,” Stivers said. “A good business environment is crucial to encourage people to come to the state.”

The state senate president said it will take a bipartisan effort to resolve the commonwealth’s extended pension liability. He estimated costs to maintain the two state pension systems collectively will rise by more than $400 million a year.

“I’ve told people in both houses (of the state legislature) we need to make some quick decisions to make ourselves competitive globally,” Stivers said.

Stivers called the Affordable Care Act, the federal legislation to provide health insurance to all U.S. citizens, “a laudable effort, but it doesn’t work.” The Kentucky Health Cooperative, which sold roughly 75 percent of the policies purchased through the state insurance exchange, closed earlier this month because it was losing so much money.

More than 51,000 Kentuckians will lose their coverage at the end of the current enrollment period, according to Stivers. The problem stems in part from how much the federal government pays providers, he said.

Stivers estimated the Kentuckians insured by the Kentucky Health Cooperative will see their costs increase 30 percent to 100 percent if they switch to a new provider in the Kynect health insurance exchange. He also predicted the rates for others insured through the exchange will see increases up to 30 percent.

“That’s not good for business in the state,” Stivers said.