Fact Checker: McConnell’s New Obamacare Claim ‘Not Credible’

May 29, 2014 10:26 am

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who writes the paper’s Fact Checker blog, is calling out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his puzzling argument that Obamacare should be repealed while Kentucky’s state-based Obamacare exchange, Kynect, should remain intact.

Since McConnell made the claim he’s been inundated with criticism from Democrats as well as one of Kentucky’s largest newspapers. Kessler followed up to earlier statements released by the McConnell campaign about his comments with McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton.

“Medicaid existed before Obamacare and will continue to exist after repeal. Kynect is not Medicaid,” Benton said in one of the emails he exchanged with Kessler. “It is a state administered exchange that provides a marketplace for private insurance plans. While some 300,000 Kentuckians discovered they were eligible for Medicaid through Kynect, they do not purchase private insurance through the exchange; they are enrolled in the state-administered program.”

Benton’s explanations don’t add up, writes Kessler. The Medicaid expansion in Kentucky and other states is funded through the federal government as prescribed by Obamacare. In the conclusion to his post, Kessler wrote that ” is not credible for McConnell to suggest that the state exchange would survive without the broad health-care system constructed by the Affordable Care Act, such as an individual mandate and subsidies to buy insurance.”

“Given the popularity of the state exchange, McConnell appears to want to offer out hope it would continue even in the unlikely case the law was actually repealed,” Kessler wrote “That’s likely not a tenable position, and we will pay close attention to McConnell’s phrasing on this issue in the future. The senator is clearly trying to straddle a political fence; when doing so, it’s easy to lose your balance.”

(H/t: Greg Sargent)

This post has been updated.

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