The tea party has won the first round in a lawsuit that questions the legality of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange that Gov. Steve Beshear set up last year by executive order.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd refused to dismiss the lawsuit on Thursday, as had been requested by attorneys for the state.
The state argued unsuccessfully that taxpayers don’t have legal standing to challenge the legality of the Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange, which is intended to help uninsured people arrange insurance coverage under the federal health care overhaul.
Tea party activist David Adams filed the lawsuit last month, claiming Beshear created the exchange without necessary legislative approval. Adams wants Shepherd to order work on the exchange to cease.
The planned expansion of Kentucky's Medicaid program coupled with a push to help the uninsured obtain health coverage could exacerbate the state's shortage of physicians, according to a report released Wednesday.
Deloitte Consulting, a technology firm that's helping to set up the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, unveiled the report showing Kentucky's 10,475 primary care physicians and specialists are far short of the actual need.
However, the firm concluded that Kentucky would need to find ways to increase the number of doctors and other medical professionals even if it didn't expand medical coverage to more than 600,000 new patients.
The advisory board tasked with overseeing Kentucky's health insurance exchange is set to have its first meeting Thursday. The 19-member board is made up of public officials, insurance executives, doctors and consumer groups. The agenda is short, focusing mainly on organizational tasks like forming subcommittees. The board is also getting an overview of the exchange from Executive Director Carrie Banahan.