At a Kentucky Farm Bureau forum in Louisville, Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway were asked how they would pay for the expansion of the federal-state program once the state starts paying 5 percent of the bill in 2017, rising to the federal health-reform law’s cap of 10 percent in 2020.
Conway cited a study for the Beshear administration predicting that the expansion would pay for itself through 2020, by creating health-care jobs and tax revenue. It says there would be a net loss in 2021, the last year of the study.
Conway said there are too many people on Medicaid, but said the solution for that is a better economy. “What I am not going to do is what my opponent will do on day one, which is by executive order kick half a million people off health insurance based on whether we can or can’t afford it in 2021. To me, that’s not courageous, that’s callous. . . . If we can’t afford something, we can potentially scale back.”
Bevin said the “day one” line was “an absolute lie,” but when he was asked in February about the expansion, he said “No question about it, I would reverse that immediately.”
As he has done before, Bevin conflated the Medicaid expansion with Kynect, the state health-insurance exchange where Kentuckians can get subsidized health insurance or, if their household income isn’t more than 138 percent of the federal poverty line, sign up for free Medicaid.
“With respect to the Kynect program, we cannot afford to have 25 percent and fast growing toward 30 percent on Medicaid, period, whether you like it or not, whether you think it’s fair or not, whether there’s supposedly a need or not, truth be told, we can’t afford it.”
He said later, “We’re gonna dismantle the Kynect program. We’re not gonna have 25 percent of Kentuckians on Medicaid."
To recap, Conway will address the costs of Medicaid expansion, and there will be costs. Bevin on the other hand doesn't give a damn, and will just scrap arguably the country's most successful state exchange in Kynect and throw 430,000 people off Medicaid and say "Good luck with healthcare.gov."
Money shot in the last paragraph, though:
As the questioning continued, Bevin said he had explained what would happen to the 430,000 new Medicaid beneficiaries. Told that he hadn’t, he replied, “They’re Kentuckians. They will continue to live in Kentucky if they choose to.”
What a nice guy.
As I've repeatedly said, the entire point of Republicans killing Medicaid expansion is simple: you either die or move to another state. Either way, you're no longer that state's problem.
Bevin absolutely is running for governor of the Commonwealth on that platform, and right now he's ahead in the polls because of it. Meanwhile, Jack Conway is going to learn that as with Alison Lundergan Grimes, if you run away from Obama, you're going to lose.