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Kentucky! Of all places!

In spite of having two senators (McConnell and Paul) opposed to the Affordable Care Act, the state of Kentucky seems to be making a good start at signing up people for Medicaid and Exchange-based health insurance policies.

Kentucky "is far ahead of most of the nation in signing up people: As of Nov. 1, more than 27,854 Kentuckians had enrolled in Medicaid under the law’s expansion of that program, and 4,631 had signed up for private plans through the state-run exchange, known as Kynect. The state says it is enrolling 1,000 people a day."

How has the state done it? "While most states lack enough navigators to reach all who need help, Kentucky is spending $11 million in federal money to promote its exchange, and it shows: Ads for Kynect blanket television and radio, city buses and highway billboards in Louisville."

And (lucky them) they have a Democratic governor actively promoting the state effort to sign people up. Here's the full story.

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Nice story and a testament as to how the ACA can work. It is a ringing indictment to all those who showed no feelings for the disadvantaged. Which this story shows are a lot of middle class hard working people who cannot afford the cost of medical care. The Obama administration does well to tout this as an example. I hope the bishops are watching.

I read somewhere recently that, while Kentucky is widely perceived by us outsiders as a red state, it's actually more purple - hence the Democratic governor.  I believe McConnell is perceived by Democratic Senate watchers as being genuinely vulnerable in 2014, which is why it is bad news for him that he is being primaried by a Tea Party candidate who will probably pull McConnell farther to the right and force him to spend a whole bunch of money before he even gets to the general election.  If Republicans hadn't come up with the Tea Party on their own, Democrats might have to invent it!

 

The naysayers are all lined up to disparage the implementation of the ACA as much as possible. By now, they realize it will roll out despite their invective, but they want to pin the blame about everything that goes wrong on President Obama, as if he personally programmed all the web sites and personally wrote the regulations in all their complexity. But by summer we will begin to hear so many positive stories, especially from the states who expanded Medicaid, who helped set up insurance exchanges, and who publicized and advocated for people to sign up. Ultimate vindication will ensue just as it did over Medicare and Social Security. Perhaps then the real fix-it squad can go to work and refine the details.

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.