McConnell says Ky. healthcare exchange can stay but not ObamaCare

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellBusiness groups ramp up pressure to fill Ex-Im board Senate Dems: No August break without Zika deal 'Never Trump' plots its last stand MORE (Ky.) said Monday he wouldn’t mind if the state healthcare insurance exchange known as Kentucky Kynect stayed but reiterated his call for the full repeal of ObamaCare.

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Policy experts have questioned the feasibility of preserving the popular state exchange while also repealing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which set it up and similar exchanges around the country. 

“Kentucky Kynect is a website. It was paid for by a two-hundred-and-some-odd-million-dollar grant from the federal government. The website can continue but in my view the best interests of the country would be achieved by pulling out ObamaCare root and branch,” McConnell said in a debate with Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate for Senate. 

Kynect, the health insurance marketplace set up by ObamaCare in Kentucky, has emerged as one of the law’s success stories. About 10 percent of the state’s population has used it to obtain insurance coverage although critics note most of that has come about through an expansion of Medicaid.

While the state exchange is popular, many voters don’t associate it with President Obama, who has a dismal approval rating in the state. 

McConnell called the 2010 law a major policy blunder because it undermines Medicare.

“ObamaCare took $700 billion out of Medicare, a program for the elderly, used it as a piggybank,” he said, calling it a “subsidy for people who are not old and not poor.” 

He said the law put a “trillion dollar hit” on healthcare providers, citing the medical device tax and the health insurance premium tax.

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