It's not weak or dishonorable to change your mind in response to better information. On the contrary, correcting course as your understanding improves is a mark of an intelligent leader.
That's why governor-elect Matt Bevin should reconsider his vow to dismantle Kynect by 2017.
Bevin, who will be just the second Republican governor in 44 years, should give himself a chance to talk to Kentucky businesses, insurance agents, health care professionals, consumers and patients.
They would tell him that closing the state exchange — one that can promptly and personally respond to questions and complaints — and opting into distant federal oversight is a bad idea.
Surrendering state authority to federal bureaucrats, as Bevin proposes, also would conflict with some of his winning campaign themes.
Bevin promised a more business-friendly Kentucky. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Hospital Association and the insurance industry all pushed for a state exchange.
Their advice was vindicated when Kynect got off to a strong start in late 2013 while the federal exchange flailed. Now, as Kynect's third open enrollment gets underway, Kentuckians have more health insurers competing for their business than in many years, maybe ever.
Kynect is the portal through which 500,000 Kentuckians gained health insurance and access to preventive care and behavioral and addiction treatment, many for the first time.
About 400,000 have incomes of 138 percent of poverty or lower and qualified for the Medicaid expansion. They are Kentucky's working poor and their children.
The other 100,000 had higher incomes and qualified for subsidies to buy private insurance; about a third of them are under 35.
Kynect is paid for by a 1 percent assessment on health insurance policies, in place since 1998, that helped insure around 5,000 Kentuckians with pre-existing medical conditions. The fee provides far more value through Kynect.
In the final weeks of his successful campaign, Bevin wisely moderated his opposition to expanded Medicaid. The legislature, including prominent Republicans, would resist an abrupt end to the expansion, a literal lifesaver for many of their constituents.
Instead, citing Indiana as an example, Bevin started talking about remaking the Medicaid expansion. Designing and winning federal approval for changes in Medicaid, which is overwhelmingly paid for by the federal government, is a painstaking and lengthy process.
Decommissioning Kynect would not be simple, either, or cheap. The state would have to pay for information technology modifications, including de-integrating Medicaid, at an estimated cost of $23 million. Kentucky spent $283 million in federal grants to start Kynect, which would be wasted if Bevin succeeds in closing the exchange.
Bevin's avowed rationale for eliminating Kynect is to avoid duplication with the federal exchange. But ending Kynect would subject Kentucky insurers and agents to dual regulation at two levels of government. Small businesses would have to re-enroll in the federal exchange. More inconvenience and less personal attention would push down participation.
Reducing participation in the private insurance piece would not save state government a penny since the subsidies come through federal tax credits. Lower participation would cost Kentucky's health-care providers more in uncompensated care.
Kynect employs 175 people at a Lexington call center that has a dedicated line for Kentucky insurance agents.
The only motive for ending Kynect is political; it's the most visible symbol of President Barack Obama's health-care reforms. But ending Kynect wouldn't end Obama's reforms; it would just hurt Kentuckians.
Kynect's future will provide an early test for our new governor and his team. If they fail, the legislature should save an insurance marketplace that is working well for Kentucky.