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Beshear highlights Obamacare in Democrats' response to Trump speech

By
Ed Adamczyk
Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, pictured in 2012, gave the Democratic Party's official response to President Donald Trump's address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, pictured in 2012, gave the Democratic Party's official response to President Donald Trump's address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

March 1 (UPI) -- Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear highlighted the importance of the Affordable Care Act in the Democratic Party's official response to President Donald Trump's address to Congress.

The televised speech Tuesday evening by Beshear, 72, followed Trump's and was conducted in a Lexington, Ky., diner. He emphasized the healthcare law known as Obamacare, which pushes health insurance for all Americans. Its repeal and replacement was a cornerstone of Trump's presidential campaign, as well as the agenda of Republican lawmakers.

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Beshear, wearing informal khaki pants and a blue shirt as he sat in the diner, reinforced small-town American values as he accused Trump of backpedaling on populist promises. In a television spot usually reserved for up-and-coming leaders of the opposition party, the Democratic Party provided a folksy, down-home approach to disagreeing with Trump and congressional Republicans on the value of Obamacare, NBC News said.

"They would put the insurance companies back in control," Beshear said of Republicans. "Behind these ideas is the belief that the folks at the lower end of the economic ladder just don't deserve healthcare. That it is somehow their fault that their employer does not offer insurance or that they can't afford to buy expensive health plans. You picked a Cabinet of insiders and Wall Street billionaires. That's not being our champion, that's being Wall Street's champion."

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Beshear has been out of office for a year, but while he was governor, conservative-leaning and largely rural Kentucky became emblematic of an Obamacare success story, NBC News reported. One in nine residents of the state is insured through the Affordable Care Act, and Kentucky saw the biggest decline in the uninsured rate in the country.

After Beshear's televised address, Sen. Chuck Shumer, D-N.Y., commented, "We chose him because in Kentucky, a very conservative state, ACA has been a big success. Everyone's for it. The governor, coming from the heartland of America, also talked about how Donald Trump is breaking his word to the American people."

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