Presenting The Great Conservative Kynect Challenge! (UPDATED)

Hat Tip To: 
Jed Lewison

Over the past 7 months, plenty of healthcare reporters, insurance executives and political pundits have started following this site and/or my Twitter feed. For the most part the ones I know of tend to be either of unknown ideology or left-leaning, but there's also a substantial number of Republican, Conservative, Libertarian or other wise right-leaning types, and that's fine.

I've butted heads publicly with a few of these folks. In some cases they've presented honest, intelligent disagreement; in others they've spewed tired, BS talking points. Here's a great opportunity to prove whether you're dealing an intellectually honest hand or not. I present you with the following:

MCCONNELL: KY. EXCHANGE UNCONNECTED TO HEALTH LAW

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell says he would try to repeal the Affordable Care Act if he's elected Senate majority leader.

But the veteran senator won't say what would happen to the 413,000 Kentuckians who have health insurance through the state's health care exchange.

McConnell told reporters Friday that the fate of the state exchange is unconnected to the federal health care law. Yet the exchange would not exist, if not for the law that created it.

I'm well aware that Kynect employees and advocates have been reluctant to use the "Obamacare" word, or even the less-"controversial" terms "ACA" or "Affordable Care Act" or even "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (even though that's the actual name of the law). Hell, a recent Marist poll showed that sure enough, only 22% of KY residents oppose "Kynect" while a whopping 56% oppose "Obamacare", even though it's the same f*cking law. Even KY Governor Steve Beshear, the chief supporter of the state's extremely successful ACA exchange, hasn't gone out of his way to correct this rather idiotic bit of ignorance.

Now, supporters of the law in Kentucky have a very good reason for keeping mum about the connection: They want people to have access to healthcare coverage even if the recipient is too intellectually lazy (or, dare I say it, racist?) to perform the most rudimentary research on the subject:

A middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffles up to a small folding table with gold trim, in a booth adorned with a flotilla of helium balloons, where government workers at the Kentucky State Fair are hawking the virtues of Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange established by Obamacare.

The man is impressed. “This beats Obamacare I hope,” he mutters to one of the workers.

“Do I burst his bubble?” wonders Reina Diaz-Dempsey, overseeing the operation. She doesn’t. If he signs up, it’s a win-win, whether he knows he’s been ensnared by Obamacare or not.

That brings us to the Mitch McConnell story above. Senator Turtle just flat-out lied about the fact that Kynect is Obamacare. He didn't exaggerate or tell a half-truth; he told a bald-faced lie about it.

So, here's my challenge to you, Conservative Pundits: Will you tell your readers at Forbes, HotAir, the Daily Caller, NewsMax and (dare I say it) FOX News the truth? Will you state point-blank with no equivocation that Kynect, Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are all the same Goddamned law?

Here, I'll make it easy for you; here's a simple graphic for you to share:

There. Feel free to download & repost on your Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter Feed, and to embed in your columns.

Let's see how often that graphic shows up on right-wing sites over the next few weeks.

UPDATE: A few people have pointed out that technically there are some elements of "Kynect" which would still be around even if the ACA were repealed. While the exchange was built primarily using Federal funds via the ACA, now that it's in place, I presume that the state could come up with their own funding mechanism going forward. HOWEVER, here's what Kynect WOULDN'T have if the ACA were repealed:

  • Medicaid expansion would be gone. Between 250,000 - 330,000 Kentuckians would be right back where they started, with no coverage at all (I estimate that around 80K of these new Medicaid enrollees qualified under prior Medicaid requirements)
  • The tax subsidies would be gone. Around 80%+ of the 83,000 private QHP enrollees receive financial subsidies, so that's another 66,000 Kentuckians who would be screwed.
  • The insurance companies would be free to kick all 83,000 of those enrollees (along with the tens of thousands of other Kentuckians who are enrolled in private policies off of the Kynect exchange) to the curb whenever they like, dropping their coverage whenever they feel like it.
  • The insurance companies could also start telling new applicants to pound sand if they have pre-existing conditions; they could start charging women more for daring to have a vagina; they could kick 19-26 year olds off of their parents policies again, and so on.

So yes, technically I suppose there could, theoretically, still be something called "Kynect", in the same way that if the Republicans were to destroy Medicare (as they tried to do repeatedly over the past few years), there would still theoretically be a law with the word "Medicare" somewhere in the title. Perhaps Mitch McConnell could register the domain name "Kynect.com" and have it repoint to his campaign website; then he could claim that "Kynect" still "exists" even though the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA, aka Obamacare) no longer existed and he'd just doomed 400,000 of his constituants to having no health coverage.