Kentucky says it will implement central piece of Obama's health law

Beshear's letter bucks a trend of solidly red states rejecting the Affordable Care Act. Some conservative governors have staunchly refused to set up exchanges, even though that decision ultimately gives the federal government more power over their states' healthcare systems.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Since the law was signed, my administration has been contacted repeatedly by interest groups representing employers, health insurers, insurance agents, health care providers and health care advocates who all have expressed that the Commonwealth should run its own Exchange," Beshear wrote.

HHS must certify by next year that states are ready to set up the new marketplaces, which will be operational in 2014. HHS will run a federally administered fallback in states that can't or won't meet the deadline for setting up their own exchanges.