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Ky. Gov. Beshear: Embrace Obamacare, don't run from it

Dec. 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, whose state has had success applying the Affordable Care Act, says Democrats should embrace affordable healthcare, not run from it.

Beshear, a Democrat, was in Washington Thursday, acknowledging the national attention for the success of his state's implementation of the healthcare law's online exchange even as problems plagued implementation at the federal level and in many other states, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"You know what Democrats ought to run on next November?" he said. "The idea that we want every American to have affordable healthcare."

Beshear visited with House Democrats as President Obama began a renewed campaign to promote the benefits of his signature domestic law.

Kentucky has emerged as a showcase for the Affordable Care Act's promise because, as Beshear said, "we showed that the system can work and will work."

Both of the state's Republican U.S. senators -- minority leader Mitch McConnell and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul -- are fierce opponents to the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare.

After meeting with House Democrats, Beshear told reporters his main message to the caucus was to exercise patience -- a tough thing to do with 2014 elections looming.

"Take a deep breath," he said. "Because I'll guarantee you that by next November, this issue is going to look a lot different than it looks up here on the Hill right now."

But even in states where health insurance enrollment is going well, insurance companies are running into technical glitches that could threaten Jan. 1 health coverage, Politico reported.

Many of the 14 states and the District of Columbia appear to be concerned about back-end problems similar to those affecting the federal insurance portal, healthcare.gov, regarding the application files insurers receive when someone signs up for coverage through an exchange, Politico said.

Insurers in Kentucky and New York said they've received flawed enrollment forms from their local exchanges, but the extent of the errors was unclear. Washington state has had to correct thousands of the enrollment forms with faulty information about federal tax credits, officials said.

"While there is significant variation from state to state, health plans in many state-based exchanges are seeing similar problems with enrollment files," Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, said Thursday.

"In general, the situation is the same for the state-run exchanges as it is for the federally facilitated exchanges," said Tony Felts, a spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, one of Kentucky's major insurers. "As far as the quality of the data that's coming in, I can't say that everything has been completely accurate. Nor has everything been completely inaccurate."

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