Hearne: What’s the Matter With Kansas? (Ask Kentucky)

kentucky+governor+steve+beshear+generic+pic+470x264All that hand wringing over startup difficulties with the ObamCare website….

It’s beyond obvious what game Republicans are playing, but the media? Hey, short of any government shutdowns, school shootings or high profile sex scandals, they’ll milk whatever they can milkl.

Forget that the Affordable Care Act is in its infancy. But it’s like trying to put the baby to sleep because it wasn’t born housebroken. After all, this is something that – in theory anyway – that’s going to be around for decades to come.

However not everybody is up you know what creek.

Take my old state Kentucky (betcha didn’t know I’m a Kentucky Colonel).

“We hit the gorund running on October one and I think everyone in the country now feels like the Kentucky healthcare exchange – the Kynect as we call it – is sort of the gold standard, because it’s working,” Kentucky governor Steve Beshear told CNN. “We are signing up people at roughly a thousand a day. It’s a great success so far.”

Funny thing – unlike Kansas and other so-called Red States – Kentucky and 16 other states did their homework prior to Obamacare becoming law.

“You know, it was an easy decision for me,” Beshear says. “Both from a moral standpoint, because we’ve got 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians and I want to  make sure that every single Kentuckian has access to affordable healthcare. It was also the best economic decision because I had outside experts telling me that it’s going to create about 17,000 new jobs over the next eight years and infuse about $15 billion into our economy. So it’s a win-win for us.”

That despite startup website woes, certain to fade into history with barely an asterisk. 

“For some states the rollout has been smooth. Seventeen of those states – including the District of Columbia have set up their own exchanges with fewer website issues,” CNN reports.

kynect_logo_4C_300Beshears’ down home words to Tea smokers and the mainstream media:

take-a-breath“Let me just give a piece of unsolicited advice to the critics and honestly, to the news media,” he says with a smile. “Take a deep breath. You know, this system is going to work. The only thing that isn’t working right now on the federal level is the website. I’ll guarantee you that whether it’s a week from now, two weeks from now, a month from now, they’ll get it up. They’ll get it working. People will be signing up.

“You know, the last time we did a major transformational change in healthcare in America was back in 1965, I think it was. When they passed Medicare.  Well, history shows us that it took two or three years before to work through all of the bumps in the road and all of the kinks, to get it up and running and making sure that everybody joined up. So this is going to work and everybody just needs to chill out a little.”

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29 Responses to Hearne: What’s the Matter With Kansas? (Ask Kentucky)

  1. harley says:

    great article hearne!!!!
    best ever.
    It’s what I said 2 months ago that the red states that are still fighting
    this are forcing millions into the national exchange.
    As I said on wilsons story…this will work…it save me $400 a month…
    for the same coverage that I got thru another insurance company.
    I’ve listened to the people like Wilson and whinery and dude…
    and dave….but I never read where they said that the program itself
    was wrong. They don’t know what the programis…Obama did
    a horrible job selling it.
    Had he sold it better….brought in the right people on the website..
    or if the red state governors had done their moral and god given
    duty to save and protect lives they would have had their own
    site and been better able to handle the huge influx of applicants.
    I said this before….those who opposed this had no idea what
    they were fighting. They had no idea the parts of ythr program
    and how the funding would work…and the medical device tax (which
    they may cut because it actually made some sense!!)
    why do the people of Kansas and Missouri have to go thru this
    crap….for politics. What politician with a heart would turn down
    indigient kids having health care.
    The republicans know what is coming. The demographic shift is going
    to steamroll them. Once americans get the facts and see for themselves
    how this (origin’aly a republican program) works they’ll love it
    and see how the numbers and programs work and the republicnas
    will be out of power for another 40 years.
    Hopefully…brownback and the Missouri losers will wake up….this
    is working.
    and besides…what real man or woman would want to see this fail?
    because if it fails millions of people will be affected.
    thanks hearne…I know I bust you on different things…but this
    was great to read…especially on a sunday night when i’m planning
    the holidays.
    thanks again.
    Your friend Harley.

  2. chuck says:

    Many similarities between how things work at KC City Hall and Wahington DC these days.


  3. mark smith says:

    Most of the “new sign ups” are for the expanded medicaid and not actual insurance, just for starters. The entire system depends on the young enrolling and covering the cost of preexisting and older adults. Republicans need to get out of the way and let this thing implode. As people sign up and realize they actually have to pay, as supporters watch their rates go up along with deductibles, their feel good buzz will be replaced by buyers remorse. 3 years to build a website and close to a billion paid to a Canadian company to build it. If the govt. cant even get that right, how are they going to manage actual implementation?

    • harley says:

      mr smith…
      most systems we have depends on younger people paying in .
      social security (problem we have is we may not have enough young
      people paying in in 20-30 years) depends on young people paying in.
      all insurance is based on having young healthy people pay in thru
      large numbers to pay for the claims made by older people.
      so obamacare is nothing.
      Interested to hear your personal insurance situation. Saved over
      $400 here.
      and am hearing that the savings are going well in other states.
      the website on the fed level was a joke…the states websites have
      been doing well.
      it will take time…as all these programs do….and eventually all
      those red stastes you love will fall in line and sign up…that or
      go broke on their own!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rich says:

      “The entire system depends on the young enrolling and covering the cost of preexisting and older adults.”

      It requires those who are not sick, which is most people at any given snapshot in time, to sign up. But so what? That’s the very definition of insurance which has been a critical part of capitalism for hundreds of years. The car insurance system depends on people who don’t get into accidents to pay for those who do. The home insurance industry depends on homeowners whose homes don’t burn down or get blown away by tornados to pay for those homes that do. But unlike car and home owners, however, those people who don’t purchase health insurance are still consuming health care at the public’s expense. Making individuals take responsibility for purchasing private health insurance was a part of every conservative health reform proposal since Nixon and was considered a good thing by conservatives. Until Obama did it. It’s not difficult to see why most people find this newfound opposition to health care mandates as disingenuous.

      “If the govt. cant even get that right, how are they going to manage actual implementation?”

      The same way they managed to implement other programs that have worked out pretty well over many decades, despite predictions that the sky is falling and the apocalypse is around the corner. The hysteria over Obamacare will fade into history as happened with the anti-flouridation loonery in the 60s, though apparently some Tea Party types in Florida are trying to revive that one.

  4. Mark Smith says:

    Harley I’m self employed and use my v a benifits and the v a system is growingn more ovdloaded daily. My wife and stepdaughter arev on my wifes plan which went up about 30 pct. The deductibles doubled. Rich with all due respect if you think govt programs are well managed success stories we must live in alternate universe s. Good luck and don’t step in that unicorn poop.

    • Stomper says:

      Yep, the government doesn’t always do the best job but in response to your feeling that government can’t manage success stories, ask your senior friends what they think about Medicare. A different time and place but when Social Security was rolled out in the 1930’s it was a total failure for a few years. Alf Landon made it a central point of his campaign against FDR. Ask older Americans, especially those who are republicans, about their SS monthly check. I’m guessing they are pretty happy about getting it.

      I absolutely agree with your view on the Veterans Administration. How we treat our veterans is outrageous but that’s a different story. Thanks Mark.

  5. Mark says:

    We’ll said, Hearne. My 30 year old son in DC (where you can bet they have plenty of local options) will save about $150 a month– and that on a Gold plan. It’s about time the US joined the rest of the civilized world with meaningful health care for its citizens.

  6. chuck says:

    Disposable income will be a thing of the past in the retail driven American economy.

    Look, the folks that think this plan will sink the economy and transfer wealth from working folks to EBT Nation may have a point. Today I spoke with a guy who owns a very successful Maaco in Hawaii. His costs will go up 3 to 4 times as close as he can figure it at this point.

    Usually, the variables in any economic prognostication are too numerous for me to try and comprehend. If folks are worried about the Feds taking control over 1/6th of the economy, that doesn’t seem unreasonable or, at this point, unfounded, especially in view of the “Roll Out” so far. Most of you guys have a better idea of numbers etc, but one thing did occur to me, when the repitition of the enactment of Social Security and Medicaid was initiated. That is, it was NOT taking over 1/6th of the American Economy and placing in the hands of politicians and the Federal Government. A straight line reference from those years and those measures could be a little disingenuous.

    Like I said, I think, at this point, the take over of such dramatic proportions of our economy will sink that same economy by way of inflation after adjustments made in the market place to increase costs because of ACA and the reduction in spending by an American consumer, newly burdened with ACA costs. This economy, as I understand it from folks way smarter than me, has been in a precarious position since the 2007 meltdown and is kept afloat by the Feds pumping 85 Billion a month into that same economy.

    At some point, middle class folks going to work every day in carboard hats (We shipped all of our good jobs overseas and import immigrants for cheap labor for big business.) will be unable to sustain the incessant demand for payouts to EBT Nation.


    • Stomper says:

      All good points, Chuck. Your Maaco buddy brings up a really important issue that is a bit separate but still important to touch on. The linking up of healthcare with employment is a problem that this country will need to deal with eventually. The doubters say that the ACA is a job killer and that is a major reason to oppose it. While the CBO disputes that and thinks the the jobs situation will actually improve going forward, especially in the healthcare industry, your Maaco friend has a point, as do other small businesses that don’t offer healthcare to their employees and will either cut back the hours of existing employees or take other drastic actions to avoid the mandate. US companies are at a disadvantage when competing against foreign competitors. Just ask our auto industry that must include the cost of healthcare in their product when the same is not true of foreign carmakers. Why do you think companies are shipping jobs overseas??? One very big reason is because they don’t have to pay for the health insurance premiums for those workers !!! This is a different conversation and a different issue but somewhere down the road we need to separate healthcare from employment. Portability must happen. How many people do each of us know that have a major health issue and CAN’T leave their current employer because they know they can’t get coverage otherwise? But I digress.

      With regards to your second point, I’m going to approach it from the other side. Right now 1/6th of our economy is taking us over. Healthcare costs us about 17% of our GDP. With a GDP of about $ 16 trillion, that’s almost $3 trillion per year. The rest of the “developed” nations spend about 8-10% of their GDP on healthcare. Even if we could get just halfway there and reduce our outlay to, say, 13%, that’s a savings of almost $700 billion. When compared to the rest of the world, we are spending well over $1.2 trillion more than we should. Where is that money going? That’s a rhetorical question. We all know where it is going. Who has a vested interest? In my opinion, the federal government has no choice but to get involved. Don’t we all agree that the current system is not working??? If the ACA fails and we were to shelf it and go back to where we were, we are doomed.

      As Rich mentioned above, these are not new costs imposed by the ACA !!! We are already paying these costs in the premiums that you and I and everyone else that has insurance pay now. People that “don’t have insurance ” now DO HAVE INSURANCE NOW. They are just not paying for it. We are. The costs for these people are built into our current health insurance premiums.

      • chuck says:

        Ok. I guess we will see soon enough.

      • chuck says:

        This morning, I read this-


        from NBC. Not exactly a conservative think tank, those guys are a strong media spoke in the wheel slowly crushing the life out of the what is left of the middle class. Indeed, as we saw in the Zimmerman show trial, their stock in trade includes editing actual audio tapes to further a liberal political agenda.

        No matter what your political affiliation is from far left to far right, the one thing an economy craves, is stability. The premise of all liberal thought includes the implication that all consrvative thought is based on a “Let them eat cake” philosophy. It might be time to get past the BS and really look at what the consequences of such an overly ambitious effort will reap.

        Again, numbers are not my baliwick, but this dramatic disruption appears to be pernicious, poorly thought out, with perhaps devastating consequences.

        • chuck says:

          Lemme clarify here, I think the devastating consequences to the economy will result in the increased cost to Americans with disposable income who will now be spending that disposable income on health care for EBT nation and not spending it in the market place.

          The opposite contention, is that health care costs will be reduced so dramatically as to increase spending in the market place.

          I hope I am wrong, I hope you guys are right, that the Feds can arrogate 1/6th of the economy, run it correctly and provide services and products in a timely fashion.

          • Stomper says:

            Chuck, we have a lot of common ground. We agree that the middle class is getting crushed. We agree that the economy needs stability. We agree that there are fanatical ideologues on both sides of the aisle.

            I think if we all just made a list of what we think are the top 5 – 10 problems the country faces and then decide whether each one is something that the private sector can fix or if it requires government involvement. If it’s government, then should it be local, state, or federal government. I think a lot of us are saying the same thing but from a different perspective. In the end, the question is what do we think is the role of government. The government is not the enemy. Yes there is waste and yes, the feds are doing some things that may be better addressed at the state or local level. That doesn’t mean that government is evil. Yes, the bath water is pretty dirty but let’s not throw out the baby.

  7. Stomper says:

    One additional thought about the ACA. Obvious that the roll out of the website was a disaster. Other problems exist with it and I’m confident that many more will surface. Even as a supporter of involvement of the federal government in healthcare, it will almost certainly take years to get it right with a number of adjustments along the way. But…….. let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good.

  8. expat says:

    Stomper and Hearne you are both quite hubristic in this case, to presume you know enough about an 800 page bill (no not 2000) to say it’s all going to work out fine, despite having problems right out of the gate. Insurers and others already have teams of extremely smart lawyers searching for loopholes to take advantage of (ones they didn’t have written in deliberately) and it will be a number of years before we find out the result. In your Pollyanna worldview everyone is going to work out the kinks to achieve what you envision the program to be – however that won’t happen. Instead the kinks will be worked out in ways that are most profitable to those who can manipulate the system most adroitly, and that may end very badly for the nation as a whole. To tralala past concerns like those Chuck has shows the unseriousness of your thinking on this.

    The bill is passed, and saying it will ‘work’ is a truism not an argument in its favor. People can get used to anything including a horrible insurance system. Personally I’d like to see the whole thing succeed but don’t think Obama or his affirmative action administration has the ability to pull it off. And I don’t think congress has the ability to put something like this into place in good faith – without a lot of destabilizing hooks inserted on behalf of their benefactors. And finally I’m not convinced ACA is sustainable with its current schedule of incentives. It brings in people who are aick but does little to encourage healthy people to pay in, and guarantees their care if they get sick anyway. Eventually it’s going to end up largely supported directly by taxpayer subsidies, a wealth transfer just like EBT as Chuck notes, or by more debt that our children and grandchildren will end up paying for one way or another.

    • chuck says:

      expat brings up another point I have read, that the rich will be able to not only afford the increase, but find ways to dodge it.

      The guys left in the middle always get it in the throat imo.

      I too, hope Mr. Stomper is right and it reduces healt care costs and releases disposable income into the market place, but it looks pretty scary right now.

    • Stomper says:

      Expat; Hearne can certainly defend himself better than I can but I think all his piece is saying is that the State of Kentucky chose to take the federal funding and use it to set up the state exchange. According to the governor, the program is getting the large number of uninsured citizens in his state, into the exchange, their website is working, and they see an increase of jobs and income for the state in the future. At this very early point in time, the 17 states that elected to set up state exchanges appear to be experiencing success.

      Speaking for myself, while I do think you have me pretty correctly pegged as an optimist, I really think that what I’m saying is not so much that the ACA is the perfect solution that will all work out in the end as much as saying that the current system is fatally flawed and costs us more than a trillion dollars a year of wasted spending. Doing nothing is not a solution. Expat, can we at least agree that the status quo is not acceptable?

      • expat says:

        Well we definitely agree on that. I think we’ll muddle by with Obamacare for a while and either do major overhauls to the law or scrap it in exasperation and start over. Either way we’ll end up with something that doesn’t resemble the current ACA much. It’s kind if sad, it should have been easy to look at all the countries in the world that have national health care, pick one with similar demographics and legal system, and copy it. Instead we had to do our own thing and made a mess.

        When I say ‘we’ I mean that metaphorically. The country I live in has had national health care for decades and it works pretty damn well (and my family has used it for emergency room visits, long hospitalization and delivering a child). As an American I’d like to see the same thing in our country…

        • Stomper says:

          Wow, you blew me away on that response but I loved it. Sounds like you are advocating for a single payer program which the right side of the aisle ( for the most part, not all) abhors but the left side ( again, for a large % but not all) craves. While I’m a democrat, I’m personally not ready to give up on the private side yet and hand everything over to the government. But if this fails, I’m not sure where else we can go.

          As you correctly stated, as have many others, the tome that the ACA is confusing and overly detailed with almost no one who can accurately claim to understand it. However, the basic premise, the same premise that Nixon’s plan back in the 1970’s had as did Romney’s in Massachusetts is to let the private sector and Medicare/Medicaid continue to operate as it does for the most part and then subsidize the uninsured portion of the population and slide them over to the Medicaid side on a state level. The hidden cost that this uninsured portion places on the private carriers is now identified and funded openly on the public side. The democrats fought Nixon in the 70’s as they were pushing for a single payer format. If they had only agreed with the GOP back then but hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

          If the GOP was forced to present a plan of their own for healthcare, I honestly think it would contain the same premise that the private sector would continue as it does, with an inclusion for pre-existing and probably allowing kids to stay on their parents policy to age 26, and then subsidize the uninsured and place them in the Medicaid ( or similar type state run program). No way they will allow a single payer without a bloody fight to the death.

          Expat, thanks for the last post.

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