Kentucky: Mea Culpa: Turns out I had Mitch McConnell all wrong!
For five months now, I've been trying to unscramble Kentucky Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's word salad about what his post-Obamacare-repeal intentions are for the people of Kentucky.
- He wants to repeal "Obamacare" "root and branch".
- "Obamacare" = the Affordable Care Act ("ACA").
- In Kentucky, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) = "kynect".
- 527,000 Kentuckians rely on kynect for their healthcare, 75% of whom didn't have any other form of insurance before the kynect exchange launched last year.
Repeal Obamacare > Repeal the ACA > Repeal kynect > Tear healthcare from 527K Kentuckians.
I should also note that with a total population of about 4.4 million people, 527K = about 12% of the entire state.
Now, up until today, based on McConnell's Palinesque ramblings, I had concluded that what he was actually proposing after a theoretical ACA repeal was to have the state of Kentucky jack up state taxes on its citizens by a whopping $700 million per year to cover the roughly $622 million per year cost of covering the appx. 350,000 Medicaid expansion enrollees in the state, plus an additional $150 million per year needed to cover the tax credits for 60,000 or so Kentuckians who are receiving federal tax credits to help with their private policies purchased through the kynect exchange.
In other words, until today, it certainly looked like McConnell was proposing a $772 million per year tax increase on the people of Kentucky, a rather unusual stance for a supposedly anti-tax Republican Senator.
However, today it appears that I had him all wrong. According to Sam Stein over at the Huffington Post...
...if McConnell was fine keeping the website, would he also be willing to let people keep the federal assistance that helps them purchase coverage offered on that website?
The Huffington Post asked the McConnell campaign that very question the day after the debate. We asked the campaign the same question twice more that day. Then, we posed the question to them seven more times over the subsequent nine days. We also called the campaign twice. The campaign never responded.
McConnell’s Senate office did, however, extend the courtesy of a reply. And the answer was fairly straightforward. A spokesman for the minority leader confirmed that he wants to repeal the full health care law, including not just the federal subsidies for people purchasing on exchanges like Kynect, but also the mandates and taxes on high-cost plans and other features of the legislation.
The office added, however, that McConnell doesn't want to simply leave it at full repeal. He wants to replace the Obamacare model, a "broken system," as the aide put it, with "common-sense reforms that would lower costs for Americans." It remains to be determined what that replacement would be.
In other words, he wants to replace the Affordable Care Act with...well, nothing.
So, there you have it, folks: Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator from Kentucky, has confirmed that he is not proposing a $772 million tax hike on Kentucky citizens.
Instead, he's proposing to financially destroy the lives of 12% of his own state's population.
Got it. Thanks for clearing that up.