(UPI) -- Thanks in large part to the efforts of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, the Bluegrass State, despite its tendency to lean red, has become the only Southern state that both expanded its Medicaid rolls and opened up a health benefit exchange in order to provide affordable health care to more than 640,000 uninsured citizens.
Despite the technical difficulties that have plagued the launch of the Affordable Care Act, the program has done exceedingly well in Kentucky. On the ACA’s first day, 10,766 applications for health coverage were initiated, 6,909 completed and 2,989 families were enrolled. The launch was so successful that President Obama himself applauded it.
Kentucky could certainly benefit from the program as it consistently ranks near the bottom of nearly every national health survey and one out of six state citizens are uninsured.
Not everyone in Kentucky is sold on the program. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul recently penned a joint op-ed entitled “Kentuckians Not Buying Obamacare.”
Former two-term Kentucky state treasurer Jonathan Miller responded in a piece he wrote for the Daily Beast.
“But they are buying Obamacare. Literally. And many, many more will, as uninsured Kentuckians learn more about their benefits during the program’s grassroots educational rollout, and as popular disgust grows with the shutdown and default tactics of Obamacare’s most vocal critics. So by the time of next November’s general election, McConnell’s most potent rhetorical weapon -- an assault on Obamacare -- may have lost much of its firepower.”
The issue is quite personal for Beshear. “[These] are not political decisions. They are moral decisions,” he said. “Taking these steps will mean that, for the first time, every single Kentuckian will have access to affordable health care. Over the next generation, this will change the course of Kentucky’s history.”