Health ReformPolicy & LawPublic Health

Will Voters Figure Out Senator’s Healthcare Stance in Ultra-Close Senate Race?

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Kentucky’s KYnect exchange has been lionized in the media as much as it has been pilloried by that state’s senior GOP senator currently in the biggest fight he has ever had in holding onto his seat — Mitch McConnell.

Kentucky’s KYnect exchange has been lionized in the media as much as it has been pilloried by that state’s senior GOP senator currently in the biggest fight he has ever had in holding onto his seat — Mitch McConnell. alison grimesDesperately trying to distance himself from the well-oiled exchange’s existence in his state constituency, McConnell continues a strategic assault on the program he hopes will appeal to the classic low-info voter on the issue of the Affordable Care Act. mcconnellAs his Dem opponent plays the keep-your-enemies-closer-than-friends maneuver, hoping to catch McConnell in the act of making a mistake, the seasoned senator continues to bash the ACA as a “job killer” and “deductible and premium hiking mechanism”; he seems to be forgetting that KYnect is part of the same law that he openly, politically loathes. How can repeal benefit Kentuckians who are benefiting from the state’s exchange? To review: Kentucky’s ACA exchange exists because of the ACA, which allows the expansion of Medicaid (KY’s governor endorses this SCOTUS-sanctioned option) — for the majority of beneficiaries who signed up via the exchange, along with those who singed up for federally subsidized private plans. Surely, McConnell understands this. Yes, he does. In fact he is sticking to this strategy.

When Mitch McConnell dropped jaws last Friday by saying that the fate of Kynect — and the health insurance coverage of over 400,000 Kentuckians — is“unconnected” to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, many wondered if he embarrassingly misspoke, or if it was an intentional deception designed to fool voters into thinking that the popular state Obamacare exchange could survive without Obamacare ….  [H]is campaign is doubling down on deception:

The McConnell campaign made clear he does not endorse the state exchange, but indicated it could survive a full blown repeal if the GOP takes over the Senate.

“If Obamacare is repealed, Kentucky should decide for itself whether to keep KyNect or set up a different marketplace,” [says] McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore…“But Kentuckians shouldn’t have been forced to lose the plans they had and liked, shouldn’t have seen their premiums skyrocket, shouldn’t have had their Medicare cut, and shouldn’t have had their taxes raised because of President Obama and his friends in Washington forced it down their throats.”

The Kynect website and call center was paid for with federal money from the ACA, specifically $252 million in federal grants. Without the ACA, Kentucky foots the bill for a website that is worthless.

Kentucky voters clearly favor KYnect. McConnell knows this. He also knows that his opponent, Alison Lundergran Grimes, will have to respond to this intentional fallacy. McConnell hopes this increasing guilt-by-Obama-association will squelch the need for any further “clarification” on forcing an inconceivably laughable ACA repeal in his state, one that went handily for Romney in ’12. Looks like the ball is in Grimes’s court. Should be interesting. | LINK

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