Politics & policy

Insight into federal and state health care legislation & CMS regulation

Former Governor Attacks Overhaul of Ky. Coverage

Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton and a predecessor are squabbling over a decision to overhaul the health insurance plan that covers about 24,000 state workers.

Patton is replacing Kentucky Kare, which allowed state workers to go to any physician, with a managed care plan built around networks of physicians and hospitals.

In a letter faxed to newspapers across the state, former Gov. Brereton Jones attacked Patton for making a "giant mistake" in shutting down Kentucky Kare, and proposed setting up a trust fund for health care that would be financed by state budget surpluses.

Kentucky Kare is going broke, according to Patton, who dismissed the trust fund proposal.

A budget adviser to the governor estimated that a trust fund generating enough interest to cover 400,000 uninsured Kentuckians would require $19.5 billion in principal and take 570 years to accumulate. The estimate assumes that the new coverage would be comparable to that currently given state employees.

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