Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Dec. 5, 2013.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty

Kentucky’s ‘indisputable success’

No state has worked harder than Kentucky to implement the Affordable Care Act effectively. The results speak for themselves.
The Beshear administration claimed Tuesday that implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky has been an “indisputable success” with more than 413,000 enrolling for coverage before the March deadline.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced the figures in a Capitol press conference, seeking to underscore his long-held contention that the federal law will provide untold health benefits for the commonwealth despite critics who argue otherwise.
Beshear said about 75 percent of applicants in the state’s health benefit exchange, called kynect, lacked any insurance and were unable to access needed care or teetered on the edge of bankruptcy before signing up.
The Democratic governor added that ACA detracts are stuck on an “echo chamber,” unable to recognize that “this is working – that’s the bottom line.”
At the event, Beshear introduced a local woman who had an emergency appendectomy last month, and who would have faced “catastrophic” economic conditions had she not enrolled in Kentucky’s insurance marketplace.
Soon after, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a statement complaining about the law anyway because, well, just because.
As for the broader political implications, there are a couple of angles to keep in mind.
First, for all the talk about the toxicity of “Obamacare,” Beshear has championed health care reform as much as any governor in the country and he still has a 56% approval rating in a “red” Southern state.
The Kentucky governor is faring far better with voters than Republican voters in red states that refuse to implement the ACA.
And second, according to everything we know, Kentucky Republicans are still eager, if not desperate, to destroy the Affordable Care Act, taking coverage away from the more than 413,000 Kentucky residents who enrolled.
It seems like a politically unsustainable position, but for now, that’s the GOP’s posture and they’re sticking to it.