The Chatter: Governor bets bourbon on Final Four game; Ky. health exchange in national spotlight

04/01/2014 05:25 PM

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is betting bottles of big name bourbon on the Final Four game when the University of Kentucky takes on the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday in Dallas.

Beshear and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made a friendly wager Tuesday on the game, betting items from the signature industries of each state.

The Kentucky bourbon basket wagered by Beshear will include some of the state’s most well-known Bourbon brands such as Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses, Elijah Craig and others as well as glasses and apparel.

If Kentucky wins, Beshear will receive a gift of some of Wisconsin’s finest beer, bratwursts and cheese which Walker has wagered.

Beshear noted the success of the UK team so far in beating all four of the teams left standing at the end of last year’s tournament and said he looked forward to seeing the match-up but believes Kentucky has the edge.

“We’ll look forward to grilling those Wisconsin brats after the Kentucky win on Saturday,” Beshear said in his statement. “Go Cats!”

Kentucky health exchange still in national spotlight

The national media is still looking to Kentucky to analyze the effect of the Affordable Care Act as it has become the model of success in some ways but many in the state remain unconvinced.

Kentucky-born journalist Perry Bacon Jr. of MSNBC wrote a piece for Yahoo! News about the politics of the law remaining unchanged despite the success of the health benefits exchange set up by Governor Beshear.

Bacon interviewed Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, who expressed his continuing concerns that the law is unsustainable for the state in terms of funding.

Pointing to the fair number of residents signing up for health insurance through the exchange who are from Stivers’ district, Bacon explained that Stivers told him he would still like to see the expansion of Medicaid stopped in Kentucky because of major cost concerns.

The Kentucky Health Exchange, called kynect, reported more than 370,000 signed up for health care through the exchange through March 31, which was the deadline to apply. Those who turned in their applications and are still weighing their options with multiple quotes from insurers have until April 15 to make the decision.

Even with more than half of the state’s uninsured now signed up, Bacon’s article referenced poll numbers that show the federal law is still not popular in Kentucky.

“It’s a reflection of the reactionary and racist nature of Kentucky,” Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, told Bacon about the attitudes towards the law. “This is Kentucky and some parts of Kentucky are living in the past. They (Republicans) have been successful in associating these issues with Obama.”

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Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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