Throwback Thursday as McConnell and Beshear debate health care and farm bill in front of farmers

08/22/2013 07:49 PM

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Governor Steve Beshear reverted to 1996 form, debating health care policy and the fate of the farm bill at Thursday’s Farm Bureau Ham Breakfast just as they might have done when running against each other for the U.S. Senate 17 years ago.

Beshear, who spoke first at the event, explained his decision to expand Medicaid in the state under the Affordable Care Act. And he defended the law as a way to improve the state’s standings in health rankings, such as rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

“The Affordable Care Act is our historic opportunity to address this weakness and to change the course of the future of the Commonwealth,” Beshear said. “Kentucky is on the leading edge of this effort because we know our Kentucky families need health care. We also know what a good bill this is.”

McConnell began his speech with a rebuttal, saying that the Affordable Care Act is hurting Kentucky families as companies pull back on health benefits or salaries in order to cover costs of adhering to the law’s mandate to provide health insurance to employees. He referred to UPS, which has a large presence in Louisville. The delivery company announced this week it would stop offering health insurance to spouses of employees.

“So governor, the solution to Obamacare is to pull it out root and branch,” McConnell directed to Beshear.

Another issue the two indirectly debated was the farm bill, which both agreed has a big impact on many Kentucky families.

In his remarks, Beshear took an indirect shot at McConnell and other members of the federal delegation by saying that congressional “shenanigans” had shelved the issue.

McConnell said he understands Kentucky farmers need Congress to pass the farm bill and assured the crowd that details for a bill will be worked out by congressional leaders soon.

“I assure you governor, there is plenty of time to solve that problem,” McConnell said. “We need a farm bill for Kentucky agriculture. To be perfectly frank with you, it is not the best farm bill I ever saw. But we’ll get one.”


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