Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said Tuesday that Obamacare should only be repealed if it can simultaneously be replaced, despite being the first governor to dismantle his own state’s health care exchange, in 2016.
“I think in general, the majority of Americans are with Senator Paul in theory,” Bevin told Fox Business’ Neil Cavuto Tuesday afternoon. Paul has said in recent days that Obamacare should only be repealed if congressional Republicans have a replacement program ready “the same day we repeal it.”
“If you’re going to replace something, do it at the time that you’re repealing that which you’re going to be replacing,” Bevin said. “To do this simultaneously, I think, makes great sense.”
“I think some of the reticence, some of the hesitancy on the part of others, maybe Speaker Ryan, maybe even now President-elect Trump, is somewhat driven by the sense that there may not be the will among the elected officials in Congress to move this quickly,” Bevin continued. “It’s unfortunate, but I think that may be the reality. Whether people like it or not, reality does have to come in to play.”
“So to that end, I think there are people wanting to not over-promise and then end up under-delivering. So I think people in theory like the idea of repealing and replacing but they’re also being pragmatic in trying to find the best way forward,” he said.
Bevin’s seeming support of not repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement ready flies in the face of his campaign rhetoric about the law. During his campaign for governor in 2015, Bevin railed against the law in animated stump speeches across the commonwealth.
His campaign website claimed he was for “freezing and disbanding” the state’s ACA healthcare exchange. And though he did soften his position on the state’s Obamacare-enabled Medicaid expansion after being elected—Kentucky would “transform” rather than eliminate it, he said—the state’s health care exchange was discontinued in 2016.
It was the first time a working health care exchange established by the ACA had been dismantled and its users transferred to the federal exchange. Bevin announced the development in January, and the federal government approved the plan in October.