Beshear says Ky. is ‘gold standard’ for implementing Obamacare, trades shots with McConnell in Washington

“Kentucky has become the gold standard when it comes to implementing the Affordable Care Act, and I’m very proud of that,” Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday morning at a press conference in Washington with Democrats in the U.S. House.

“There is a tremendous pent-up demand in Kentucky for affordable health care,” Beshear said. “People are hungry for it.” Citing studies that led him to expand the Medicaid program under the reform law, he said that “will generate $15 billion for Kentucky’s economy and create 17,000 new jobs,” Jennifer Bendery reports for The Huffington Post.

Beshear also took a shot at Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who calls for repeal of the law: “I have a U.S. senator who keeps saying Kentuckians don’t want this. Well, the facts don’t prove that out.” He said more than 550,000 people have visited the state’s health-insurance exchange website since it launched on Oct. 1, and about 69,000 have signed up for coverage, 41 percent of them under 35.

“Asked if he thinks Obamacare will be a factor in McConnell’s reelection campaign in 2014, Beshear said ‘It may well be,’ but perhaps not in the way McConnell hopes,” Bendery reports. The governor said, “I predict it will be an issue where people start looking at the critics and say, ‘What was all that yelling and screaming about? I think you must have misinformed us about the Affordable Care Act.'”

Wednesday night, McConnell called the law a
“catastrophic failure” for people everywhere,” Bendery notes. “This is beyond fixing. It needs to be pulled out root and branch and
we need to start over,” the Senate minority leader said on Fox News Channel‘s “On
The Record With Greta Van Susteren.”

“McConnell spokesman Don Stewart responded by citing an article about 280,000 Kentuckians being forced to give up their current insurance policies as a result of Obamacare requiring stricter guidelines for coverage,” Bendery reports. McConnell later issued a
statement saying in part, “The
things my constituents now have to put up with as a result of this law
are simply unacceptable.” (Read more)

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