Beshear says Medicaid plan will transform Ky. in a generation; acknowledges it was easier because he wouldn’t face voters

In a generation, Kentucky will be a very different state because the federal health-reform law and expansion of Medicaid has made health insurance available to all residents of the state, Gov. Steve Beshear told Los Angeles Times political reporter Mark Z. Barabak for a story the paper published on Thanksgiving Day. And he acknowledged that his Medicaid decision was easier because he can’t seek re-election.

“I knew if I was going to make a huge difference in the health status of
Kentucky, it was going to take some kind of transformational tool to do
that, and that’s what the Affordable Care Act
is for me,” Beshear told Barabak. “I think we’ve started something
here that a generation from now you’ll see a very
different Kentucky than what you see today.”

Beshear “conceded, with a small smile, that it was easier knowing he would
never face voters again,” Barabak writes. “Embracing Obamacare is not without political risk. Undaunted by the early success in Kentucky, Republicans plan to make the controversial program a major issue in 2014, when the GOP will be vying to take control of the state House for the first time in close to a century.”

Politics aside, “The need for care in this pretty but hard-pressed state is unarguable,” Barabak writes. “Kentucky leads the nation in cancer deaths and preventable
hospitalizations and suffers some of the highest rates of diabetes,
cardiovascular illness and premature death.” But he says “Kentuckians may feel understandably whiplashed” because the state’s Republican U.S. senators firmly oppose “Obamacare.” (Read more)

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