McConnell tells hospital employees affordable healthcare is "great dilemma of our country."

07/03/2012 10:13 AM

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spoke to employees of Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown on Monday about the Supreme Court’s Decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the changes he would have liked to see in the legislation, and how best to repeal the law.

McConnell told the two dozen doctors, nurses and hospital employees and several news outlets that advances in medicine has led to Americans living longer which led to a dilemma in health care coverage.

“Trying to figure out how to afford that (healthcare coverage), and trying to figure out who’s healthcare to pay for is the great dilemma for our country,” McConnell said.

McConnell offered several changes he would have added had he written the healthcare bill, including medical malpractice reform and interstate health insurance competition.

Senator McConnell said there are ways to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and it’s something he thinks he can do with a simple majority in the Senate. McConnell would need 51 votes to gain a simple majority.

“The fact that it was declared a tax makes it easier for us to repeal it in the Senate. Because there are certain things we can do with a simple majority as opposed to 60 and taxes is one of them,” McConnell said. “That was the only good thing about the Chief Justice calling it a tax from my point of view, is it actually makes it easier to deal with it.”

Part of the 2010 health care law requires states to expand the Medicaid program to cover individuals who make up to 133 percent of the federal poverty rate.

In Kentucky, that would add about 320,000 to the already 800,000 enrollees in the program starting 2014.

While the federal government will cover the cost of the new enrollees at the beginning, eventually states will have to cover a portion of the costs.

Governor Steve Beshear told Pure Politics on Friday that expanding medicaid in Kentucky is still uncertain.

“We’ve got to look at that hard and see what we’re getting ourselves into one way or the other,” Beshear said.

But, Senator McConnell urged doctors to voice their concerns on expanding the Medicaid program.

“If any of you are concerned about having 400,000 additional medicaid patients I would express myself to the Governor and the legislature maybe that’s not a good idea,” McConnell said.

Not everyone in the audience agreed with McConnell’s assessment on the healthcare law, including one nurse who reminded the Senator that hospitals still have to provide services to patients in need of care despite their ability to pay.

However that didn’t stop McConnell from making his pitch for full repeal of the law via this year’s election.

“Repeal of Obamacare will be job one,” McConnell promised if he becomes the Senate Majority leader rather than the Minority leader.


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