The ACA requires states to set up a health exchange for its residents to purchase affordable insurance, but if a state refuses to participate, the federal government will run that state’s exchange.
Smart said whether people supported the bill or not, the state should run the exchange.
“It’s important we have local control,” Smart said.
Long agreed with Smart’s position: “I don’t think the federal government should be involved in what we’re doing in this state.”
Last year, Gov. Beshear moved control of Medicaid to three private managed care operations in an effort to reduce costs. However, earlier this month, one of the MCOs backed out of its contract claiming the system was not profitable.
Long’s husband, Dr. Rob Long, was a long-time practicing physician, and Long has seen first-hand how the reduction in Medicaid reimbursements has created barriers for people who are already struggling to get health care.
“Many doctors have stopped taking Medicaid patients,” Long said.
Smart said the governor was trying to appease Kentuckians who were calling for more efficient government by contracting with MCOs to handle Medicaid care, however “cheap is not always best,” she said.
Fighting drug abuse:
During the last session, the “pill mill bill” was passed by the General Assembly, which placed more restrictions and monitoring on many types of medications.
Long said the bill needs to changed, “if not repealed.” The increased restrictions and regulation surrounding the prescribing of certain medications to patients, most of whom aren’t addicts, have led to some doctors even giving up their narcotics licenses, Long said.
Smart voted for the bill but said that many of the restrictions that are causing problems for doctors and patients were set by the Medical Licensing Board, not the legislature. She said the legislature should not revise or repeal the bill but work with the board to improve regulation.
Also proposed during the last session was a bill that would made pseudoephedrine, a allergy medication also used to make methamphetamine, a prescription-only medication. After lobbying against the bill by some pharmaceutical companies, the bill did not pass.
Smart said she supported the bill.
“I would give up my time to get a prescription if it would save a child’s life, and I’m disappointed in people who won’t,” Smart said.
Long disagreed with making pseudoephedrine a prescription medication.
“It’s legislating for the few against the many,” she said.