Andy Beshear's win in Kentucky is a massive blow to Trump's Medicaid sabotage

Andy Beshear's win in Kentucky is a massive blow to Trump's Medicaid sabotage
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D). Image via Screengrab.

Apparently defeated Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin was unpopular for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest was his attempts to reverse Kentucky's standing as the biggest success story of the Affordable Care Act, specifically its Medicaid expansion. If there was a bad idea from the Trump administration to strip health care away from the working poor, Bevin was the first to embrace it.

That started with imposing work requirements on Medicaid enrollees in the expansion, a move that Bevin's own administration said would cut 95,000 people out of coverage—and he touted that as a good thing. Then he threatened the more than 400,000 or so on the full expansion that he'd take it all away if they fought back. They did it anyway, suing because the waiver from the Trump administration exceeded the changes to the program that were allowed under the Medicaid law. Making good on his promise, Bevin started cancelling coverage for dental and vision coverage for nearly half a million Medicaid expansion patients. He ended up having to back away from that rescission, but the self-inflicted political damage was done.

It seems pretty clear that Democrat Andy Beshear is going to be the new governor. Bevin refuses to concede as of this writing, because of course he is. He's a mini-Trump. One of the first things Beshear has vowed to do after taking office is restoring Medicaid. "In my first week in office I am going to rescind this governor's Medicaid waiver," he declared in his victory speech, the line that got the most raucous response from his supporters.

Beshear's election wasn't all about health care, as Bevin is too generally disliked for it to be attributed to just one thing. But this was a big one. Bevin was the most enthusiastic of all the Republican governors to embrace Trump's sabotage of Obamacare. With a conservative appeals court right now on the verge of declaring the whole ball of Obamacare wax unconstitutional, with no alternative plan in existence or in hope of existence, a lot of Republicans should be sweating anew today.

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