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“From GOP ‘Con Man’ To Newly Elected Governor”: Health Coverage For Kentuckians Was On The Line, And They Appear To Have Lost

Under two-term Gov. Steve Beshear (D), Kentucky has been one of the best-run states in the nation. Not only is the Bluegrass State’s unemployment rate at a 14-year low, but Kentucky has been so successful in implementing health care reform, it’s cut its uninsured by over 40%.

Perhaps the state’s voters grew tired of success and decided to go in a different direction.

Voters in Kentucky elected Republican Matt Bevin as governor Tuesday.

Bevin beat Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway. Unofficial results from the Kentucky State Board of Elections had Bevin beating Conway 52.52% to 43.82% with all 120 counties reporting Tuesday night.

Independent Drew Curtis was also on the ballot, and garnered 3.6% support – not enough to affect the overall outcome. Statewide turnout was only about 30%, meaning that over two-thirds of the state’s voters didn’t bother to show up at all.

Bevin’s road to the governor’s office was, for lack of a better word, improbable. A year ago, the right-wing candidate, who’s never served a day in public office, launched a primary fight against incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Republicans quickly labeled Bevin a “con man” who lies “pathologically.” The first-time candidate was exposed a man who lied about his educational background, and who even struggled in the private sector – his business needed a taxpayer bailout.

At one point, he even delivered a speech at a cockfighting gathering and then lied about that, too.

Bevin lost that primary. A year later, he’s a governor-elect.

The smart money bet against him. Indeed, even as this year’s race unfolded, the Tea Partier seemed on track to lose. In September, the Republican Governors Association scaled back its investments in the Kentucky race, and as recently as mid-October, Bevin’s own internal polling showed him trailing.

Complicating matters, the GOP candidate “created a nightmare for Kentucky’s political reporters” by lying – about a wide variety of issues – on an almost habitual basis, and then creating an “enemies list” of journalists who challenged the accuracy of his falsehoods.

And yet, voters in Kentucky yesterday overlooked all of this and handed Bevin a relatively easy victory.

What happens now is likely to have a major impact on many of his constituents’ lives. One of the central tenets of Bevin’s odd platform has been scrapping Medicaid expansion, which would have the effect of taking away health care benefits from many low-income families statewide. And because outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear (D) used executive orders to create much of the state’s health network, the new right-wing governor-elect will have the power to undermine the health security of a significant chunk of Kentucky’s population rather quickly.

The question is simple: will he? This sets the stage for the the first real test of whether far-right officials are prepared to hurt their own constituents, on purpose, to advance a partisan goal. It’s one thing for Republican state policymakers to block Medicaid expansion from taking effect, but in Kentucky, the Affordable Care Act has already been fully implemented – and it’s working beautifully.

Bevin’s stated goal is to roll back the clock, consequences be damned. Coverage for over 400,000 struggling Kentuckians was on the line in yesterday’s election, and as of last night, they appear to have lost.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, November 4, 2015

November 5, 2015 - Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Kentucky, Matt Bevin | , , , , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. I hate to state the obvious, but those 400,000 obviously didn’t care enough about their health care and didn’t bother to vote for their own protection. The problem is not Bevin; it is the voters of Kentucky. In the end, they got what they wanted and deserved.

    Like

    Comment by Barneysday | November 5, 2015 | Reply

    • It seems to be a common theme over and over again…

      Like

      Comment by raemd95 | November 5, 2015 | Reply

      • We like to blame the politicians, or the machines, or whatever. The simple fact is the voters put these people in office, and even those who didn’t vote, really did by not getting into the booth.

        Voter responsibility is a pet passion of mine.

        Like

        Comment by Barneysday | November 5, 2015

      • It should be a pet passion for all of us. No excuses!

        Like

        Comment by raemd95 | November 5, 2015

  2. If the state goes down the drain, the people has only themselves to blame. I hope they get what they deserve, whatever it is .

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by renxkyoko | November 5, 2015 | Reply

    • 30 % turn-out ? I bet they were all Republicans. M Our area is overwhelmingly Democrat, but the Democrat candidate almost lost , and his lead was so small , the Republican candidate demanded a recount. The turn-out was only 14 %..

      Like

      Comment by renxkyoko | November 5, 2015 | Reply

      • It behooves me as to why people do not use their right to vote!

        Like

        Comment by raemd95 | November 5, 2015

      • Maybe they believe nothing will change …. their lives have been the same no matter who gets elected. Maybe hey don’t read the news, like Carson saying he will abolish Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. If They dominate all three branches of the government, you bet they’re going to try. I can just shake my head.

        The government should make election day a non- working holiday. If this can be done with executive order, Pre. Obama should do this, pronto.

        Like

        Comment by renxkyoko | November 5, 2015

  3. I read this morning he is backtracking off this promise as the push from very legitimate voices has told him what that would mean. He now is talking about freezing future expansion. As noted, even with two high profile GOP senators, Obamacare has been a huge success in Kentucky. If they pulled 420,000 of Medicaid, it would likely put the state into a recession as well as hurting those people. The money being spent with providers for care, which has enabled these members to spend other freed up money elsewhere, would cause fewer purchases leading to an ugly echo effect.

    Like

    Comment by Keith | November 5, 2015 | Reply


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