Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has already blinked on the Medicaid expansion fight, reversing course on the campaign promises he made last year. But as the Lexington Herald-Leader reports, the Tea Party governor unveiled his budget plan yesterday and he's moving forward with plans to scrap the state's Kynect health-insurance exchange.
The Republican governor who took office Dec. 8 was specific in saying that Kynect "is going away" and added that it won't be in existence a year from now. The exchange offers a website to shop for health coverage. Bevin predicted that a move to the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, will save the state millions of dollars each year.
Kynect is a popular system that's worked beautifully, but Bevin is determined to scrap it anyway, in part because of knee-jerk partisanship -- "Obamacare" is bad, or something -- and in part because the new Republican governor believes the move will save the state money.
Except, it won't. State officials have already estimated that dismantling the successful Kynect system will cost taxpayers $23 million.
Just as importantly, Kentucky received millions more in federal funds to create Kynect, and the governor's decision to tear it down means the state will likely have to pay Washington back for the investment Kentucky no longer wants.
What's more, as we discussed a few weeks ago, there's also an under-appreciated irony to all of this: Bevin, a far-right governor, is also abandoning the tenets of his own ideology. By scrapping Kynect, the Kentuckian is shifting power from his state to Washington, D.C., on purpose, without explanation.
Kynect has worked. It's popular. It saves the state money. And it keeps control in Kentucky instead of D.C. Bevin is overlooking all of this because, well, just because.
It's what Tea Party governance looks like in 2016.