Beshear defends Affordable Care Act, lambastes its critics in NY - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Beshear defends Affordable Care Act, lambastes its critics in NYT editorial

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Gov. Steve Beshear (D - KY) Gov. Steve Beshear (D - KY)

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear defended the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and lambasted its critics in a strongly worded editorial that appeared in Thursday editions of the New York Times.

In the editorial titled My State Needs Obamacare. Now., Beshear addressed politicians opposed to the new health care law, which allows Americans to begin shopping for more affordable health insurance on Tuesday, October 1, writing, "to those more worried about political power than Kentucky's families, I say, 'Get over it'... and get out of the way so I can help my people."

The governor sharply criticized the law's adversaries. "I'm offended by their partisan gamesmanship, as they continue to pour time, money and energy into overturning or defunding the Affordable Care Act," he wrote. "It's shameful that these critics haven't invested that same level of energy into trying to improve the health of our citizens."

Beshear wrote that Kentucky is moving more quickly than almost any other state to implement ACA "because there's a huge disconnect between the rank partisanship of national politics and the outlook of governors whose job it is to help beleaguered families, strengthen work forces, attract companies and create a balanced budget."

Beshear, a Democrat, said he and other governors, including Republicans such as Jan Brewer of Arizona, John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan, view ACA as "a tool for historic change," citing the Bluegrass State's poor ranking in almost every major health category, including smoking, cancer deaths, heart disease and diabetes.

The governor said Kentucky would make affordable health insurance available to every person in the state, adding that one in six Kentuckians -- approximately 640,000 people -- currently is uninsured.

"They roll the dice and pray they don't get sick," Beshear wrote. "They choose between food and medicine. They ignore checkups that would catch serious conditions early. They put off doctor's appointments, hoping a condition turns out to be nothing. And they live knowing that bankruptcy is just one bad diagnosis away."

Beshear also said that approximately 308,000 of Kentucky's uninsured citizens will be covered when the state increases Medicaid eligibility guidelines to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. He cited a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Studies Institute at the University of Louisville which concluded that the expansion of Medicaid would inject $15.6 billion into Kentucky's economy over the next eight years, create almost 17,000 new jobs, have an $802.4 million positive budget impact, protect hospitals from cuts and shield businesses from up to $48 million in penalties.

"In short, we couldn't afford not to do it," Beshear insisted. "Frankly, we can't implement the Affordable Care Act fast enough."

Click here to read Gov. Steve Beshear's New York Times editorial in its entirety.

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