FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Christians-only health care ministry bill, S.B. 3, won a battle Thursday in the state House Banking and Insurance Committee.
S.B. 3 — a bill that would help Medi-Share, a Florida-based health care-sharing ministery — had been languishing.
Banking and Insurance Committee members voted 28-0 Thursday to endorse the measure . Moments later, the Senate Banking and Insurance committee voted 8-0 to confirm the appointment of Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark.
Both the Medi-Share bill and Clark’s confirmation had been in question before Thursday’s votes.
Richard Beliles, chairman of the government watchdog group Common Cause of Kentucky, said the action smacks of a political deal.
“Horse-swapping is not in the public interest,” Beliles said. “We need our legislators to use their best judgment on the merits of situations like this.”
Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Chairman Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, said the back-to-back votes were coincidence.
“There was never any ‘do this, do that’ put upon her,” Buford said. “It was nice that she came forward and supported this legislation.”
House Banking and Insurance Committee Chairman Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, declined to comment on whether Clark’s confirmation was tied to the Medi-Share vote. Clark also dodged that question.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo grinned when asked if the two committee votes were connected. “Not that I know of, but I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ordered Medi-Share to stop operating in Kentucky last year at the request of the Kentucky Department of Insurance, which was already being led by Clark.