Trump interview fuels debate about impact of Obamacare on Kentuc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Trump interview fuels debate about impact of Obamacare on Kentucky

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- During an interview with WDRB on Monday, President Donald Trump made a provocative claim about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the state.

“Obamacare is killing Kentucky,” he said.

But one healthcare advocate disputes the president's view of the ACA. Part of Trump's goal at his Louisville rally on Monday was to sell the GOP plan to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

“This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare,” Trump told the cheering crowd at Freedom Hall.

In an interview with WDRB beforehand, the president went further, saying Kentucky will be better off under the Republican plan.

“I think in the end, we're going to have a fantastic bill," Trump said. "And the alternative is Obamacare, and Obamacare is killing Kentucky.”

Emily Beauregard, Executive Director of the non-partisan Kentucky Voices for Health, disagrees.

“The Affordable Care Act has been a tremendous success in Kentucky,” she said.

Beauregard says it's too soon to accurately map health outcomes from the ACA but says new research from the private foundation The Commonwealth Fund shows early gains.

“We have made more progress than almost any other state in terms of getting people covered and helping them to use that coverage to improve their health,” she said.

Trump also pointed out the shrinking number of health insurance choices in Kentucky.

“You're going to lose your insurance companies if you haven't already lost them," he said. "It's been a disaster for Kentucky."

That claim is largely true. Five insurance companies have left or are leaving the Kentucky exchange. Nearly half the state's counties now have just one provider.

“It is a problem for people to not have the number of choices that we've had in the past," Beauregard said. "But that's something that we can fix."

Critics warn repealing Obamacare would cause hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians on Medicaid, including many who voted for Trump, to lose their coverage.

But Trump says that’s not so.

“We've added dollars, and I will never let that happen to my people," he said. "These are people that were with me from the beginning."

Beauregard is adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

“We just don't know what's going to happen with this bill and what it's going to look like once the Senate has time to work on it," she said. "But we are concerned."

The next big test for the GOP healthcare bill is the vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Fresh from his trip to Louisville, President Trump was on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, pushing lawmakers to close the deal.

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