Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Monday night he wants to repeal Obamacare “root and branch” but keep the law’s state-based insurance exchange in Kentucky, called Kynect.
“I think it’s fine to have a website. Yeah,” he said during the first and only scheduled Kentucky Senate debate with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, pressed on whether he wants to keep Kynect.
Kynect is the portal which funnels the Obamacare subsidies that have insured some 500,000 Kentuckians in the last year on the private insurance market or Medicaid expansion. It is well-liked in the state even though Obamacare polls poorly.
“The website can continue but in my view the best interests of the country would be achieved by pulling out Obamacare root and branch,” McConnell said. He declared Kynect a “state exchange” and argued that the state of Kentucky “can continue it if they’d like to.” He said Medicaid expansion was also “a state decision.”
If Obamacare is repealed, then the federal subsidies for the coverage expansion would disappear and Kentucky would either have to strip that insurance for recent recipients or foot the large bill through the state’s budget.
McConnell did not say how that coverage would be funded if Obamacare is repealed. His remarks hold to his somewhat contradictory position from earlier this year that Kynect is fine but Obamacare should be repealed.
Grimes torched “the fictional fantasy land that Mitch McConnell is in” on Obamacare, saying that she would keep the law and tweak aspects of it, such as by extending the “grandfathering” clause so as to let individuals keep insurance policies deemed substandard by Obamacare rules.
She said more than half a million Kentuckians have benefited from the health care law — she didn’t use the word Obamacare — and promised that “I will not be a senator that rips that insurance from their hand.”