Beshear and two other Democratic governors say Obamacare is working in their states, and cite examples

Gov. Steve Beshear continues to be a major national cheerleader for the federal health-reform law, citing Kentucky examples in an op-ed piece he and the Democratic governors of Connecticut and Washington circulated to newspapers this week.

“People keep asking us why our states have been successful,” they write. “Here’s a hint: It’s not about our websites. Sure,
having functioning websites for our health-care exchanges makes the
job of meeting the enormous demand for affordable coverage much easier,
but each of our state websites has had its share of technical glitches.
As we have demonstrated on a near-daily basis, Web sites can
continually be improved to meet consumers’ needs. The [Patient Protection and] Affordable
Care Act has been successful in our states because our political and
community leaders grasped the importance of expanding health-care
coverage and have avoided the temptation to use health-care reform as a
political football.”

All three governors expanded the Medicaid program to include people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Beshear cites two independent studies that showed Kentucky “couldn’t afford not to expand Medicaid.
Expansion offered huge savings in the state budget and is expected to
create 17,000 jobs.” The state will have to start helping pay for the expansion in 2017, but Beshear has argued that the economic activity from more health care will cover that bill.

At least one of Beshear’s co-authors, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, is not allowing insurance companies to renew policies that don’t comply with the law, as President Obama allowed last week. But they wrote, “What we all agree with completely, though, is the president’s
insistence that our country cannot go back to the dark days before
health-care reform, when people were regularly dropped from coverage,
and those with ‘bare bones’ plans ended up in medical bankruptcy when
serious illness struck, many times because their insurance didn’t cover
much of anything.
Thanks to health-care reform and the robust exchanges in our states, people are getting better coverage at a better price.”

As an example, Beshear cited Howard Stovall, whose sign and graphics business in Lexington “has paid half the cost of health insurance for his eight
employees” since it opened in 1998. “With the help of Stovall’s longtime insurance agent and
Kentucky’s health exchange, Kynect,
Stovall’s employees are saving 5 percent to 40 percent each on new
health insurance plans with better benefits. Stovall can afford to
provide additional employee benefits, including full disability coverage
and part of the cost of vision and dental plans, while still saving the
business 50 percent compared with the old plans.” (Read more)

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