The Richmond Register

Local News

June 17, 2014

Beshear sings praises of Affordable Care Act

Calls it ‘life-changing and transformative’ for Kentucky

FRANKFORT — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear told a Washington conference Tuesday that Kentucky’s embrace of the Affordable Care Act has been “life-changing” for thousands of Kentucky enrollees and “transformative” for Kentucky.

He also called Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell “disingenuous” for his attacks on the law while also saying Kentucky could maintain its health exchange even if the health-care reform law is repealed, which McConnell advocates.

Beshear was on a panel with former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Drew Altman, CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation; Daniel Hilferty, CEO of Independence Blue Cross; and Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America.

Enroll America is a non-profit which advocates for the expansion of health coverage nationally, so the audience was receptive and warmly welcomed Beshear who has become the national face of the ACA because of its successful implementation in Kentucky.

“Nationally, I’ve become the face of Obamacare for calling out Sen. McConnell and others for trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act,” Beshear said.

He went on to say 421,000 Kentuckians are now enrolled through Kentucky’s ACA exchange, called “Kynect,” and said that’s caused McConnell, Kentucky’s other Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and others to adjust their message on the law.

“Our senators and others seem to be looking at (Kynect) a little differently and talking about it a little differently,” Beshear said.

He was referring to a recent McConnell press conference where the Republican critic of Obamacare was asked if he would leave the 421,000 now enrolled under Kynect without insurance and dismantle the exchange.

After again calling for repeal of the law, McConnell said Kynect “is unconnected to my comments about the overall question.”

Beshear and others scoff at the notion Kynect could survive without the provisions of the ACA, which provide subsidies for some to buy private insurance, allow others to enroll in Medicaid under expanded income eligibility guidelines, and prohibits insurance companies to deny coverage based on health status or gender.

But McConnell — through his Senate spokesman Robert Steurer — again maintained on Tuesday that the two aren’t inextricably tied to each other.

“Kentucky did not need a mandate from Washington to start an insurance market exchange (Kynect), and it doesn’t need one to continue operating it,” Steurer said in an emailed response to a request for comment. He said public and private exchanges existed before ACA and could exist without the law.

Steurer said McConnell continues to support “full repeal of Obamacare,” which McConnell frequently describes as the “worst piece of legislation passed in the last 50 years.”

But Beshear said embracing the new law was “the morally right thing to do,” noting that 75 percent of the 421,000 — about one in 10 Kentuckians — now have health coverage “for the first time in their lives.”

He noted the unpopularity in Kentucky of President Barack Obama but said he told Kentuckians the law isn’t “about me, this is not about the president. It’s about you and your family.”

Sebelius, who was vilified for the disastrous rollout of the national ACA website, asked the audience, “Isn’t Steve Beshear swell?” She went on to say the expansion of health care coverage in Kentucky will be Beshear’s legacy and will result in a “far healthier Kentucky.”

She, too, took on the law’s critics for “relentless misinformation and relentless obstruction.” And, she noted during questioning, the rate of health care cost increases has slowed to its lowest rate in history since ACA began to be implemented four years ago.

Steurer said the law is having the opposite effect, making already expensive health care more expensive.

Altman said polling done by the Kaiser Foundation indicates “a perfectly partisan split,” calling criticism of the law “more political symbolism than reality.”

Beshear acknowledged the political passion around the issue, saying he made a conscious decision to call Kentucky’s exchange something other than Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.

He then recounted the story of a visitor to the Kentucky State Fair who listened to a presentation about Kynect and then said, “That’s a whole lot better than that old Obamacare.”

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-27 HeartChase 1.jpg A race to the finish line

    Sheltered by overcast sky and supported by a cool breeze, teams competed Saturday morning in the second annual HeartChase at Richmond Centre.

    July 26, 2014 6 Photos

  • 7-27 Hops 1.jpg Hops & Vine Festival raises money for humane society

    Downtown Richmond’s Hops and Vine Festival started more than two years ago with a question.

    July 26, 2014 3 Photos

  • Bill Clinton will stump for Grimes in eastern Kentucky

    Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    Former President Bill Clinton will join Grimes on Aug. 6 for a campaign rally in eastern Kentucky, according to a campaign official who would provide no further details.

    July 26, 2014

  • 7-26 Stockyards 2.jpg Cattle farmers enjoying ‛perfect storm’

    Demand is up, and cattle are selling for record prices.

    At the same time, corn prices are down and fuel prices have stabilized.

    That adds up to a “perfect storm” for Kentucky cattle farmers, said Gary Kelly of Paint Lick as he ate lunch Friday with his brother Jimmy at the restaurant across from the Blue Grass Stockyards.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-26 Fire Practice Structure 1.jpg Fire training tower going up

    A new training tower for the Richmond Fire Department is rising on Four Mile Road.

    Construction began Thursday on the four-story, steel-framed structure.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Pavement work to restrict I-75 in Rockcastle County

    Beginning Sunday until about the end of November, Interstate 75 in Rockcastle County will be reduced to one lane in each direction between mile points 58 and 66 for pavement work.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jailed woman charged with heroin trafficking

    A Richmond woman already jailed on another charge was served with a drug trafficking warrant Thursday.

    July 26, 2014

  • County’s jobless rate improves

    Madison County’s unemployment rate for June, 6.5 percent, was a full percentage point lower than a year earlier and 0.2 points lower than in May.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-25 Camp Invention 1.jpg Young inventors turn trash to treasure

    The first day of Camp Invention began with a room full of objects ready to be recycled, Sarah Shaffer, director of the camp said Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 6 Photos

  • 7-25 William Gilbert.jpg Four arrested on meth charges at Berea motel

    Berea Police arrested four people Wednesday at the Knights Inn on Chestnut Street, including a man they said tried to conceal a meth lab on his person.

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results