Mitch McConnell doubles down on lie that Kynect is unconnected to Obamacare

When Mitch McConnell dropped jaws last Friday by saying that the fate of Kynect — and the health insurance coverage of over 400,000 Kentuckians — is “unconnected” to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, many wondered if he embarrassingly misspoke, or if it was an intentional deception designed to fool voters into thinking that the popular state Obamacare exchange could survive without Obamacare.

Today’s story from WFPL shows that McConnell’s choice of words was, in fact, intentional, and his campaign is doubling down on deception:

The McConnell campaign made clear he does not endorse the state exchange, but indicated it could survive a full blown repeal if the GOP takes over the Senate.

“If Obamacare is repealed, Kentucky should decide for itself whether to keep KyNect or set up a different marketplace,” McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore told WFPL.

“But Kentuckians shouldn’t have been forced to lose the plans they had and liked, shouldn’t have seen their premiums skyrocket, shouldn’t have had their Medicare cut, and shouldn’t have had their taxes raised because of President Obama and his friends in Washington forced it down their throats.”​

Just for the record, McConnell saying that Kynect can survive the repeal of Obamacare is like saying that the Oklahoma City Thunder can trade Kevin Durant, but keep his jump shot.

The Kynect website and call center was paid for with federal money from the ACA, specifically $252 million in federal grants. Without the ACA, Kentucky foots the bill for a website that is worthless.

Over 300,000 Kentuckians gained Medicaid coverage because the ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility and Kentucky did not opt out, and that coverage is 100 percent paid for by federal money under the ACA, until it becomes 90 percent after a few years. Without the ACA they are no longer eligible, unless Kentucky changes their state law and pays through nose to cover these new people (that is not happening).

Most of the 82,795 Kentuckians who bought private insurance through Kynect were able to do so with the help of federal subsidies only made possible by the ACA. Without the ACA, those plans that have strong consumer protections on preexisting conditions, not being dropped from coverage for getting sick, and spending caps are no longer mandatory, so they’re gone. Gone as well is the requirement that children must be covered under their parents plans through the age of 25. Without the ACA many of these people won’t find someone to insure them, and many are forced to go back to junk plans that are worthless when you have a medical emergency or plans that are unaffordable without federal ACA subsidies.

Without the ACA, Kynect is nothing but a worthless website that would soon go dark, and roughly 400,000 Kentuckians will lose their coverage and the consumer protections it provides, and will therefore be thrown back into the old healthcare system that had failed them beforehand.

What McConnell is hoping to do with this strategy is deceive Kentucky voters who like what Kynect is doing but have a negative perception of the Affordable Care Act, and hope that the media here will do lazy “He said, She said” reporting that does not explicitly point out that what McConnell is saying is flatly false. He might turn out to be successful on that front, but this might also be a good opportunity for Alison Lundergan Grimes to get off of the sidelines and actually talk about health care with the media and voters so they know exactly what McConnell is trying to do, and have an honest conversation about what she would do. Or, she can continue staying out of this fight, and just hope for the best. Your call, Alison.

8 Comments

  1. Dale
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    The ACA covers children until the age of 26, not 25 as this article states. Please correct.

  2. shg
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    How stupid does Mitch McConnell think that Kentucky voters really are?

  3. Merlin1963
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    As one of those who would lose my health insurance with any repeal of the ACA, I am deeply worried that McConnell will get away with this blatant lie. I’m afraid that Joe is correct that the local and state media will not report McConnell’s lies on the ACA. Frankly, the local news in Louisville spends far more time reporting on crime than anything else. When the respective political campaigns are covered, it is literally just “He said, she said” for all of maybe one minute then on to other news.

    As for Grimes, she will say nothing about the ACA other than it needs fixing. All reports indicate she will let Beshear defend kynect. Some call this wise, but the longer she remains silent the more I think she is another gutless Democrat.

  4. Joe Willie
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Better she stand back and let some 3rd party 501c4 attack McConnell for his lies. Mitch is deliberately trying to draw her into that fight so that he can link her to the hated (in Kentucky) Obama.

  5. Victor Matheson
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    In response to Dale, I believe the ACA covers children until they turn 26. So, on their 26th birthday they become ineligible to stay on their parents’ plans.

    Technically that means they are covered “through the age of 25″ like the article states. Semantics, I realize, but I think the article is correct as written.

  6. Rick McGahey
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the great Jimmy Kimmel segment on “which do you support–Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act?” Maybe Mitch thinks this was a focus group of Kentucky voters…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx2scvIFGjE

  7. ezra abrams
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    please, in the future cite the kaiser poll which shows a strong majority of Americans favor community rating, ban on lifetime cap, etc – in other words, a strong majority of Americans supports the main parts of ACA

  8. Might Lion
    Posted May 31, 2014 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    The time between your 25th birthday and your 26th birthday is your 26th year. Thus if you lose coverage when you turn 26, you are covered through your 26th year. The time after your 26th birthday is your 27th year.

7 Trackbacks

  1. By Happy Hour Roundup on May 27, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    […] who argues that this clarification shows that McConnell’s original choice of words “was, in fact, intentional, and his campaign is doubling down on deception.” — […]

  2. […] McConnell’s latest clarification on this issue is instructive. He continues to avoid the core question of whether the hundreds of thousands of people who have gained coverage through Kynect should lose it under his plan to repeal Obamacare “root and branch.” That the leader of Senate Republicans has been reduced to such policy ridiculousness really should rip the lid off the big underlying story here. Republicans remain unable to mount an even remotely credible or coherent policy response to the fundamental questions this debate raises about how,  or whether, government should act to expand health care to the sick and poor. If Obamacare were the massive long-term political disaster and epic repudiation of liberal governance Republicans claim it is, wouldn’t it be a tad easier for them to navigate those questions? […]

  3. […] As you know, Mitch McConnell has been struggling to articulate his position on the Affordable Care Act, ever since he laughably declared that the fate of Kentucky Kynect — the state exchange that has signed up over 400,000 people for coverage and is more popular than the hated Obamacare — is “unconnected” to his push to repeal the law. His subsequent clarification only obfuscated matters more. […]

  4. […] Louisville Eccentric Observer also responded to […]

  5. […] absolute gibberish coming from Mitch McConnell and his campaign over the last week about how the fate of 413,000 […]

  6. […] Kentucky voters clearly favor KYnect. McConnell knows this. He also knows that his opponent, Alison Lundergran Grimes, will have to respond to this intentional fallacy. McConnell hopes this increasing guilt-by-Obama-association will squelch the need for any further “clarification” on forcing an inconceivably laughable ACA repeal in his state, one that went handily for Romney in ’12. Looks like the ball is in Grimes’s court. Should be interesting. | LINK […]

  7. […] Kentucky voters clearly favor KYnect. McConnell knows this. He also knows that his opponent, Alison Lundergran Grimes, will have to respond to this intentional fallacy. McConnell hopes this increasing guilt-by-Obama-association will squelch the need for any further “clarification” on forcing an inconceivably laughable ACA repeal in his state, one that went handily for Romney in ’12. Looks like the ball is in Grimes’s court. Should be interesting. | LINK […]

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