- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2014

Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear is criticizing Sen. Mitch McConnell for suggesting the survival of the state’s health exchange — kynect — is unconnected to the fate of Obamacare itself.

In a blog post for the Huffington Post, the Democrat said Republicans have lambasted the health care law even as his state’s exchange remained stable and signed up tens of thousands in private coverage.

“Now comes Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell’s amended election-year promise, delivered as he’s fighting for his political life: To rid the state of the ACA even while keeping all the good that ‘kynect’ does,” Mr. Beshear wrote. “At best, of course, his promise represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the ironclad link between the ACA and ‘kynect.’ At worst, it’s a blatant attempt to mislead Kentucky families for his political benefit.”

Kentucky is an anomaly of sorts, in that it is the only southern state that decided to expand Medicaid and set up its own exchange under Obamacare. Its simple, stripped-down website earned kudos while other states’ exchanges and the federal HealthCare.gov website crashed.

Between early stumbles and positive enrollment tallies under the law, both Democratic and Republican candidates are walking a tightrope when it comes to Obamacare.

Democrats who voted for the law must explain why many people received cancellations notices when they were promised the law would not affect existing coverage, while the GOP must decide whether to push for a repeal and rally around an alternative to the law, or to find a way to keep its more popular aspects while getting rid of the law’s mandates.

Mr. McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate who is fighting for re-election against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, enjoys a 7-percent lead in the race, according to a Rasmussen poll released Friday.

But he has come under fire for suggesting the exchange is not connect to what happens to the Affordable Care Act — the law that established the exchange.

“Rather than continue trying to tear out the ACA ‘root and branch,’ as Sen. McConnell has advocated, he should understand why it’s been embraced and why it’s working,” Mr. Beshear wrote.

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