Beshear to national press: 'Chill out' on the Affordable Care Act

10/27/2013 08:32 AM

Amid the embarrassing problems with the federal health exchange website, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said he guaranteed they would eventually be smoothed out and then played media critic on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

“The advice I would give the news media and the critics up here is take a deep breathe,” Beshear told host David Gregory. “You know this is a process. Everyone wants to have a date where they can declare victory or defeat or success or failure. That’s not what this is all about.”

As part of Beshear’s last word in the segment he added: “Everyone needs to chill out because it’s going to work.”

Beshear outlined the latest numbers in Kentucky — that 26,000 people have signed up for health care through Kentucky’s health exchange of which 21,000 qualified for Medicaid expansion and 5,000 have been matched up with private insurance.

It was the latest in Beshear’s national media tour as a spokesman for a state system that, especially in comparison to the federal website, appears to be working better. Beshear in recent weeks has appeared on CNN, CSPAN, MSNBC, NPR and in the pages of newspapers from the New York Times to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On Sunday, Beshear sat across the table from Gregory while Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio joined the interview remotely. Kasich criticized the Affordable Care Act because he said it doesn’t “get to the nub of the issue” of reducing health care costs.

Kasich went up against his own Republican controlled legislature to expand Medicaid just as Beshear did in Kentucky in order to cover those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty rate. Kasich said he wasn’t going to ignore the poor, drug-addicted and veterans, which is why he accepted the expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The problems with the federal health exchange website has been a flashpoint over the last two weeks for critics to call into question the entire law.

During congressional hearings this week, contractors pledged they can fix the federal website by the end of November. But the open enrollment window closes at the end of March 2014. The website’s problems prompted members of Congress, including some Democrats, to suggest pushing that deadline back.


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