Kentucky: Matt Bevin is an ass-half. It would take two of him to make an asshole.

"Sometimes I park in handicapped spaces
While handicapped people make handicapped faces."

--Denis Leary, "Asshole"

A couple of weeks ago I noted that newly inaugurated Republican Governor of Kentucky Matt Bevin was, true to his word during the campaign, making the destruction of kynect, the Bluegrass State's ACA healthcare exchange, one of his first and highest priorities.

Never mind that the exchange has (unlike most of the other ACA exchange sites) operated pretty much flawlessly since day one.

Never mind that thanks to the ACA and kynect, the uninsured rate in Kentucky has been slashed by more than half over the past two years, from over 20% down to 9%.

Never mind that the "kynect" branding has been an unprecedented and award-winning success.

Never mind that killing the state-based exchange and shifting to the federal exchange wouldn't save the state a dime, and may actually end up costing the residents more due to the additional 3%-per-premium-per-month fee which would be charged if he does so.

Nope, Bevin said he'd kill kynect, and killing it he is, one step at a time.

First, he deleted any and all references to the state exchange and all progress that it's making from the official Governor's website.

Next, after two years of uneventful, regular enrollment updates, he forbid the exchange from even publicly releasing any enrollment data:

I noted over the weekend that DC, Idaho, Kentucky, New York and Vermont have all been radio silent so far for the 2016 enrollment period. I've since confirmed that Idaho, at least, does plan on releasing their data to date later this week at their monthly board meeting (after the 12/15 deadline has passed), but that's about it.

As for Kentucky, when I asked what the deal was, I was given the following link...to fill out a paper "Open Records Request to Inspect Public Records" form. Which you have to pay for.

When I inquired about the abrupt change of data transparancy, I was given the following response. I'll leave it up to you to decide what it means (emphasis mine):

Kentucky just had a recent change in Governor and the transition teams are currently working to review all of the programs.

Well, today, the day before Christmas, the next phase has taken place:

State ends kynect advertising campaign

Kentucky has ended an award-winning advertising campaign for kynect, the state health insurance website and outreach campaign that Gov. Matt Bevin has pledged to dismantle.

A contract with Louisville advertising agency Doe-Anderson has not been renewed after expiring Nov. 30, and the agency was directed on Dec. 18 to cancel pending advertising, according to Jill Midkiff, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Dan Burgess, director of public relations at Doe-Anderson, said the agency has been asked to refer questions to state officials.

The campaign was funded with federal money.

...Longtime health advocate Sheila Schuster said she was disappointed to learn the kynect advertising campaign has been canceled midway through the current health insurance enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31.

"It really makes no sense," said Schuster, chairwoman of Kentucky Voices for Health, a coalition of health advocacy groups. "Why would the state not want people to know they have this option?"

Yes, why indeed?

This stunt reminds me very much of when the GOP took over the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010...and promptly got rid of the array of energy-efficient lighting, biodegradable materials and other environmentally-friendly materials which the Democrats had implemented over the previous four years, switching back to incandescent lightbulbs and non-biodegradable styrofoam cups.

They didn't do this because doing so would save money or for any other remotely justifiable purpose; they did it simply because it was the opposite of what the Democrats had done, logic and common sense be damned.

Smooth move, Kentucky voters. This is what you voted for. But I'm sure Bevin will find some way of blaming his decision to kill a highly popular, highly effective bright spot in Kentucky's healthcare story...on President Obama.