Gov. Beshear urges Governor-elect Bevin to reconsider reversing - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gov. Beshear urges Governor-elect Bevin to reconsider reversing health care reforms

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky is getting healthier, and Gov. Steve Beshear says he wants to keep it that way.

That’s why Beshear is trying to pressure Governor-elect Matt Bevin into breaking a campaign promise.

It's Gov. Beshear's last big campaign as he prepares to leave the State Capitol; a campaign to preserve improvements in public health that he fears the new Governor will undo.

“The fun and games are over, and it's time to get serious,” said Beshear at a Capitol news conference.

Gov. Beshear wants Governor-elect Matt Bevin to take a serious look at the numbers in Kentucky.

The number of people without health insurance, the smoking rate, obesity, and deaths from heart disease and cancer are all down.

Beshear credits his policies, including expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.

“Folks, this has been reform with a capital ‘R,’” said Beshear.

Beshear wants Bevin to reconsider his pledge to roll back Medicaid expansion and dismantle Kynect, the state insurance exchange.

“This is a long-term plan for improving Kentucky, but you won't see it if you're blinded by short-term political ambitions,” he said.

In an interview with WDRB this week, Bevin remained steadfast, but promised to move slowly.

“There's real people involved, and I'm going to make sure that we do this in as seamless a way as possible to make sure people are well covered without upsetting their lives,” he said.

Bevin says he'll apply for a federal waiver allowing Kentucky to design a Medicaid plan he says the state can better afford.

“Ultimately it's going to be yanked out from under them if you don't have the money to pay for it, and that's more cruel to me than if you have a thoughtful, logical way to ensure that we have healthcare access for everybody in Kentucky,” said Bevin.

But Beshear insists dismantling his programs will cost more than it saves.

“He's a business guy, and he's used to looking at facts and figures and data. That's what I would encourage him to do,” said Beshear.

Bevin won a landslide election campaigning on dismantling Kynect, but Beshear believes other factors played more of a role in Bevin's win than healthcare.

Late Friday, Bevin’s Communications Director, Jessica Ditto released the following statement in response to Beshear’s news conference.

“Governor-Elect Bevin’s immediate priority is forming the new administration and preparing the executive budget.

Governor-Elect Bevin has laid out a health care vision for Kentucky that will encourage personal responsibility and focus on expanding access to quality, affordable health care coverage. His administration will move forward in addressing Kentucky's health care needs in a deliberate and thoughtful fashion, consulting with Kentucky’s health care stakeholders, his Cabinet appointees and the General Assembly.

Governor Beshear has three more weeks in office and is responsible for this open enrollment period. His most serious challenge is to re-enroll the 51,000 Kentuckians who are losing coverage due to the collapse of the Kentucky Health Cooperative. Those Kentuckians know first-hand the failures of Obamacare. The urgent task of re-enrolling Kentuckians who lost coverage remains firmly in Governor Beshear's court.

The time for politics is over. Governor Bevin promised Kentuckians a fresh start and he is working every day to deliver on that promise.”

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