Desperate Mitch McConnell Gets Slippery on Obamacare

As time wears on, the following prediction will seem less like science fiction and more like science fact: The Republicans will eventually try to take credit for the Affordable Care Act. The fact that it’s proving itself to be increasingly successful, along with the reality that much of the law was originally conceived by Republicans, makes it absolutely ripe for the plucking.

Indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising if, in ten years or so, the Republicans were to not only claim credit, but also to campaign on preserving it. Keep your government hands off of our blah, blah blah! Clearly, they won’t claim credit for passing the original law, but they’ll surely take credit for preventing the state exchanges from being dismantled, along with some of the consumer protections in the law.

It’s already starting in Kentucky where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, fighting for his political life, is using some generous handfuls of slippery petroleum jelly, normally reserved to moisten his subterranean nearly-translucent epidermis, in order to dodge his way around Obamacare.

In the event of a repeal, McConnell wants his state to decide independently whether to keep its wildly popular state marketplace, known as Kynect.

“If Obamacare is repealed, Kentucky should decide for itself whether to keep Kynect or set up a different marketplace,” Allison Moore, a campaign spokeswoman for McConnell, told TPM in a statement Tuesday. [...] His campaign added that Kynect creates a “marketplace of private insurance plans” and states like Utah and Massachusetts had established similar systems before Obamacare became law in 2010.

McConnell, in a move that raised eyebrows, told home state reporters that the fate of Kynect was “unconnected” to the fate of Obamacare. His campaign’s statement Tuesday suggests he’s standing by that position.

If the state exchanges are debatably permissible now, the most popular parts of the law would be eliminated in a would-be Republican repeal. Consumers would once again be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, the lifetime and annual limits would be reinstated, 20-somethings would be booted off their parents’ insurance, federal financing for the Medicaid expansion would end as would federal insurance subsidies for lower-income Americans, and anyone who signed up for insurance through Healthcare.gov would potentially lose their coverage.

But Kentucky would get to keep its exchange.

That seems fair, doesn’t it?

  • Christopher Foxx

    Clearly, they won’t claim credit for passing the original law

    Of course they will. A decade from now they’ll be claiming they managed to ram it thru Congress despite Obama’s opposition.

    What in the past 20+ years makes you think Republicans have any hesitation to claim down is up?

    • D_C_Wilson

      I wouldn’t at all be surprised if, sometime down the road, we have a republican president and a republican-controlled Congress and they vote to repeal the ACA and then replace it with an nearly identical bill just to get the Kenyan cooties off of it so that it’ll be safe for them to endorse it.

      • Christopher Foxx

        That wouldn’t surprise me at all. Or, to avoid the effort involved in repealing and recreating, them simply passing a bill that officially renames it to ReaganCare.

        I’ve said it several times before: The Republicans missed a tremendous chance to spin this Democrats finally getting on board with Republican ideas, choosing instead to let their hatred/fear of Obama drive them to denouncing their own programs (and having that backfire on them).

        They will end up making some attempt to rewrite history and claim they were always for it after they were against it (which, they’ll claim) they never were, of course).

  • Barbara Striden

    Unfortunately, The Turtle’s Democratic opponent is being just as slippery; she won’t even say if she would have voted for the ACA. Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Democratic governor has embraced the law, and it hasn’t hurt him politically at all. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if McConnell supported Obamacare back when it was Bob Dole’s Health Care proposal.

    • JozefAL

      Well, in fairness, during the 2008 elections (and primaries), no one asked Obama if he had been a Senator in 2001/2002 when the Iraq Authorization bill was before the members of the Senate, would he have voted for it or would he have stood against it. And yet, it was Hillary’s vote to authorize the war that led MoveOn to endorse Obama. DESPITE every single vote Obama did cast as a Senator being almost identical to Hillary’s Senate record (and on women’s issues, his vote was less liberal/progressive than Hillary’s), the sole thing that put Obama as the “leading candidate” for the left-wing was a vote he could NOT cast.

      I don’t see why people feel it’s important to know how a candidate WOULD have voted on a bill he or she obviously couldn’t cast (especially when they don’t seem to apply the situation to all candidates on all issues). I mean in Alison Grimes’ case, what’s the big deal on “Would she have voted for Obamacare?” The ACA is law now. Unless you want to know “As Senator, will you vote to keep the ACA if the GOP somehow manages to repeal the bill and then override the President’s likely veto?” it’s all pointless. And unless she’s ACTIVELY criticized the ACA in the past, I really don’t see why it’s important NOW to know “if she would have voted for it.” (And, more importantly, what does it do? Turn off Democratic voters who know that McConnell WILL vote to repeal the ACA for everyone else but his own state? Win over GOP voters who like their state’s exchange but “hate Obamacare because……?”

      And as far as “Kentucky’s Democratic governor has embraced the law and it hasn’t hurt him politically,” I just have to ask if you know anything about Gov Beshear’s political future. He’s TERM-LIMITED. He CANNOT run for re-election in 2015. Furthermore, per this Yahoo News article (http://news.yahoo.com/in-kentucky–obamacare-s-success-did-nothing-to-change-the-politics-of-law-195221884.html ), Beshears’ term-limited governorship let him take advantage of expanding Medicaid.

      From that article:

      Far from being seen as a success story, though, in Kentucky, the health care law and Beshear’s strong embrace of it remain deeply controversial. A recent poll showed that a plurality of Kentuckians continue to favor repealing the law. Other than Beshear, many of the state’s leading Democrats, aware of the lingering tensions around the ACA, avoid speaking about it publicly, wary of being seen as too supportive of “Obamacare.”

      And Kentucky Republicans are acting just like those in Washington and states around the country: GOP state legislators in the Democrat-controlled Kentucky House this month pushed unsuccessfully for a provision to repeal the state’s Medicaid expansion under the ACA and suspend its health care exchange.

      “The politics have really not changed,” said Regan Hunt, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health, a nonprofit group that supports the health care law. She noted that while it’s easy to find Republicans in the state’s Legislature who will publicly blast the law, “I don’t know if we have true Democratic champions” besides Beshear.

      Maybe you are from Kentucky, but if so, you don’t really seem to know that much about Kentucky politics.

      • D_C_Wilson

        The question is, though, does Beshear have any ambitions to run for further office in Kentucky and if so, will his embracing of Obamacare hurt his chances in that race?

  • ssj

    El Tortuga.

  • Jason E

    They’ll probably claim that Obama stole it from them a slapped his name on it.

  • condew

    It’s an election year, time for Republicans to do their best to look sane, but they are so far from sane they don’t even know how to fake it.