"Just a Website" (Update: McConnell proposes increasing KY taxes by $700M/year!)
An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell:
McConnell says that he supports Kynect because it is just a website.... #kysen
— Joe Sonka (@joesonka) October 14, 2014
Dear Senator McConnell:
In addition to running ACASignups.net, I also happen to be a website developer by trade. I founded my website development company 15 years ago, which makes me an old man in the industry.
Given both of these capacities, I think I'm in a pretty good position to judge what's "just a website" and what isn't.
The kynect "just a website" wouldn't exist without Barack "Yeah, He's Black And He's The President Of The United States, It's Been 5 1/2 Years So Get Over It Already" Obama and the Democratic Party.
I'm pretty sure that to those people, kynect--otherwise known as the Kentucky's Affordable Care Act healthcare exchange, aka "Obamacare"--means just a wee bit more than "just a website".
However, let's take emotion out of it for a moment.
Let's look at another website. This one was developed on the other side of the country, in the state of Oregon.
Like Kentucky, Oregon set up their own ACA exchange.
Like Kentucky, Oregon set up their own ACA enrollment website.
Like Kentucky, Oregon has enrolled around a half a million residents* in either private healthcare policies or Medicaid, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (again, aka "Obamacare" OBAMA-care. O.B.A.M.A. CARE).
*(The link lists the total as 355,000, but there's an additional 128,000 Oregonians who were enrolled earlier via a clever "fast track" program which they don't list in more recent updates, for a total of around 483,000 people in all).
However, there's one key difference between Kentucky's exchange and Oregon's.
Oregon's website doesn't work. It never worked, it doesn't work now, and as far as I know it never will work because they're abandoning it in favor of moving to the Federal exchange instead for 2015 and beyond.
Now, yes, Oregon officials screwed up. And yes, Oracle Corp. screwed up. And yes, it's embarrassing for both the Oregon state government as well as the corporation which they hired. And yes, it stinks that the state of Oregon spent something like $300 million on a non-functioning website.
But here's the thing:
Even with a broken website, Oregon enrolled 483,000 people in healthcare policies which are either higher-quality than what they already had or, in some cases, the only healthcare coverage that they ever have had.
They did all of this manually. Hundreds of workers manually processed thousands of enrollment forms over months to get nearly half a million people enrolled in decent healthcare coverage. Sometimes they made mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes were also embarrassing (like almost enrolling one of your colleagues in Medicaid and assigning him 97,000 children by mistake).
But they did it, and for the most part those 483,000 people are pretty damned happy to have their coverage, regardless of what a pain it might have been to get it.
Just like it's my understanding that most of the 527,000 Kentucky residents you plan on ripping away healthcare coverage from are probably pretty happy to have their coverage, even if they refuse to acknowledge that it was Barack Obama who deserves credit for them having it.
Since you never did actually propose [see update below] the $700 MILLION TAX HIKE (per year) on Kentucky residents which would be necessary in order to keep the kynect healthcare policies (both public & private) in place for those 527,000 people, I can only conclude that your intention, after you "pull Obamacare out root & branch" is to simply tell them to go to hell.
"Just a website"???
Go crawl back into your shell, Senator McTurtle.
UPDATE: Well I'll be damned. In listening to the debate carefully, Mitch McConnell did indeed support increasing Kentuckians taxes by $700 million per year after all!!
McConnell: Now, with regards to kynect, it’s a state exchange, they can continue it if they’d like to, they’d have to pay for it because the grant would be over. And with regard to the Medicaid expansion, that's a state decision. The states can decide whether to expand Medicaid or not. In our state, the Governor decided to expand Medicaid...
Moderator: And you would support the continuation of kynect?
McConnell: That's the state’s decision; several states have...
Moderator: But would you support it?
McConnell: Well yeah, that’s fine (chuckle) I think it’s fine to have a website.
McConnell seems to be under the impression that the only cost to the state of Kentucky would be the ongoing maintenance of the kynect website itself. He seems to either be clueless about (or deliberately ignoring) the $700 million per year which would be necessary to cover the state's portion of Medicaid coverage and private policy tax credits for the 527,000 people (and counting) enrolled via kynect to date.