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Ky. governor defends ObamaCare from successor

Ky. governor defends ObamaCare from successor
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Outgoing Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) on Friday pushed back against efforts by Gov.-elect Matt Bevin (R) to dismantle parts of ObamaCare in the state. 

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Kentucky is often held up as a success story by ObamaCare supporters, who are concerned about the changes proposed by the newly-elected Republican, Bevin. 

The state currently has expanded Medicaid under the health law, providing coverage to about 400,000 people. Bevin says he does not want to completely abolish this expansion, but rather to shift into a compromise system, where, for example, beneficiaries would have to pay for a higher share of their costs. The Obama administration would have to sign off on this plan, and the details and effects remain unclear. 

But Beshear is defending the program as it currently stands.

“Contrary to what the people without the facts say, we can afford it,” Beshear said Friday.

He cited an analysis from the state budget office finding that Medicaid expansion actually will save the state $300 million over the next two years. This analysis holds that the federal government will pay costs that otherwise would be covered by the state, and additional economic activity will generate more tax revenue. 

Beshear also criticized Bevin’s plan to dismantle the state-run ObamaCare marketplace where people can buy private coverage, known as Kynect. 

Bevin argues it is wasteful and redundant for the state to run the marketplace, also known as an exchange, and wants to shift responsibility to the federal government, which runs the marketplace in 38 other states. 

“It’s inconceivable to me why — just to make a partisan political statement — Kentucky would want to go backward and become the first state to decommission a successful exchange,” Beshear said. 

He argues abolishing the state-run exchange would have negative effects like getting rid of the local customer service teams with Kentucky-specific knowledge. 

Census figures show that Kentucky had the largest drop in uninsured rate in the country, falling from 14.3 percent in 2013 to 8.5 percent in 2014. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban It's not 'woketivism,' it's good business MORE (R-Ky.) defended the governor-elect in his home state on Tuesday, pointing out that the state will eventually have to pick up 10 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion. 

“You betcha he's going to take a look at what he can do to deal with the residue of the previous governor, a very liberal Democratic governor who has added an incredible number of people to the Medicaid rolls,” McConnell said. 

“And they're concerned at the state level because, as you know, in a couple of years, they're going to have a significant financial hit from this,” he added.