Kentucky's Governor Brilliantly Makes the Case for Obamacare

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 27 2013 2:56 PM

Kentucky's Governor Brilliantly Makes the Case for Obamacare

Doctors at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky.

Courtesy of Jewish Hospital/Getty Images

It's already in the New York Times, but if you haven't seen it, you have to read Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear making the case for why his state needs Obamacare—and needs it as fast as possible. It's a bracing read, especially because we know that in the state of Kentucky, you don't do yourself any favors by associating yourself with President Obama.

A really important point he makes is that he thinks the program will go well in Kentucky because he's been trying to make it go well. Not only will Kentucky's Medicaid program be expanded—offering insurance to 308,000 people and injecting $15.6 billion of federal money into the Kentucky economy—but there's also this:

The other 332,000 uninsured Kentuckians will be able to access affordable coverage — most with a discount — through the Health Benefit Exchange, the online insurance marketplace we named Kynect: Kentucky’s Healthcare Connection.
Kentucky is the only Southern state both expanding Medicaid and operating a state-based exchange, and we remain on target to meet the Oct. 1 deadline to open Kynect with the support of a call center that is providing some 100 jobs. Having been the first state-based exchange to complete the readiness review with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, we hope to become the first one to be certified.

Beshear doesn't name names or call people out directly, but this is a brilliant implicit condemnation of the behavior of most of the Republican governors around the country. The attitude they've taken is that since no Obamacare is better than even the best possible version of Obamacare, they should try to engineer the worst possible version of Obamacare in order to hasten its demise. As Chernyshevsky and Lenin said, "The worse, the better." And that attitude, really, has always been one of the worst sins of political radicals of different stripes. A callous willingness to sacrifice concrete human interests in the here and now in pursuit of long-term ideological ends is a great way to make sure people end up worse off than they otherwise could be. Beshear is trying to act like a proper public official and make things go well for people in Kentucky. Too many governors are hoping to make things go poorly and then point fingers.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



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