Matt Bevin has declared a state of emergency in response to the fallout from the federal healthcare overhaul law.
The governor declared a temporary state of civil emergency Tuesday.
The Kentucky State Police say they have arrested more than 100 people in connection with the law, which requires private employers to provide health insurance to workers.
The legislation passed by the Republican-led Legislature was designed to allow people to purchase private insurance, which many critics say was a backdoor way to expand the scope of healthcare.
President Donald Trump signed the legislation into law in May and it became the first major federal healthcare bill to be vetoed by a Republican president.
Kentucky was among the first states to implement the healthcare law, but Bevin said the state’s citizens will be better off than they would have been if the new healthcare law was not passed.
“We have been able to make sure that Kentucky has a better quality of life and we have a better health care system than we would have if the Affordable Care Act had not been enacted,” Bevin told reporters Tuesday.
Democrats on the Kentucky General Assembly have been trying to force a vote on the law’s repeal and have vowed to pass legislation repealing it on their own, but the state governor said they have not been able until now.
Bevin says Kentucky residents who do not have health insurance under the new law will not have the same protections as their fellow Kentuckians, but he acknowledged that he and the governor will have to face the consequences.
State lawmakers say they are considering other measures to repeal the law including repealing tax credits for private health insurance, and the state will be working with insurers to set up state-based exchange plans.
The healthcare overhaul has caused major disruptions to the state, which is already reeling from a national opioid crisis.
More than 1,400 Kentuckans have died of overdoses in the state since the law was passed in May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A federal judge in the Kentucky state capital of Lexington has ordered that all state employees be given paid leave from April 1 through August 31 to provide for the cost of care, as well as pay the pensions of more than 800 public school teachers, nurses and other employees.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that he will seek a temporary restraining order to block the state from enforcing the new state-run healthcare system.
He said the order was necessary because he is concerned about the impact of the new legislation on public health.
Bevin has vowed to repeal or substantially modify the law.