How Kentucky built the “Best in the Nation” website for ACA
Kentucky did it right. The state’s online health insurance marketplace has become Obamacare’s city on a hill while the federal HealthCare.gov has been flummoxed by a month of glitches and bad press. Whatever the federal website seems to have failed to do to ensure its success on the Oct. 1 launch, Kentucky did.
Kentucky, with its deeply conservative congressional delegation, might seem like an unlikely place for Obamacare to find success. But Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear saw the law — and a state-built marketplace — as an opportunity to help put the state on a path to greater health.
His state routinely ranks toward the bottom in overall health, and better health coverage is one step toward reversing that norm, he said.
“For us to make a transformational difference, we needed to do something game-changing.” Beshear told TPM in an interview. “The (Affordable Care Act) provided us a tool to do that. It’s succeeded so far beyond our wildest dreams.”
Kentucky has been cited by numerous sources — the Wall Street Journal, NPR, the Advisory Board Company — as among the best of the best marketplaces since its launch. While the federal site has stumbled, Kentucky is being held up as evidence that the marketplace concept can work in practice.