Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has never formally retreated from Obamacare repeal, but he has taken some puzzling positions, like opening the door for Kentucky keeping its new Obamacare exchange even if the law were undone.
And now in a newly published interview, he seems to acknowledge that the state’s expansion of Medicaid under the law is also likely here to stay.
The New York Times recently profiled McConnell, who is facing a tough Democratic challenge from Alison Lundergan Grimes. Reporter Jonathan Martin offered some outtakes from that piece Wednesday, which included McConnell’s comments on Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear decision to expand Medicaid.
McConnell criticized Beshear for accepting the Medicaid expansion, calling it “a mistake,” and said he wanted to repeal the entire law “root and branch.” But when I pressed him about the politics of taking away Medicaid from those individuals that now have it, he suggested that was unlikely – even while still faulting Beshear for the decision.
“I don’t know that it will be taken away from them,” McConnell told Martin of coverage gained by poor Kentuckians through expanded Medicaid. He added in reference to Beshear and state officials: “They’ve made the decision to expand it, they’re gonna have to pay for it.”
An exact number of people covered through Medicaid expansion isn’t yet available, but more than 350,000 had signed up for Medicaid (both traditional and expanded) through the Kentucky’s exchange as of April.