The expansion of Medicaid has the overwhelming support of Kentucky voters, but even a strong majority of self-identified Republicans approve.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky poll, reported by NPR-affiliated WFPL, found that 60 percent of self-identified Republicans said they support expansion. In total, 79 percent of Kentuckians agree with Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to expand coverage to low-income people under the health care reform law.
Derisively categorizing the expansion of Medicaid as ‘free stuff,’ the same kind of ‘free stuff’ Mitt Romney campaigned against in 2012, is not my opinion. It’s the opinion of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.
MCCONNELL: “Well, 85 percent of the people who’ve signed up in Kentucky have signed up for Medicaid. That’s free health care. If you want to give out free health care you’re going to have a lot of interest. Just like free anything else. There’ve also been, if you look at the statistics today, I believe I’m correct, about 270,000 cancellations of policies that people already had. So I know there’s been a great effort on the part of the administration and the governor of Kentucky to paint a pretty picture. The rollout is quite mixed — quite mixed — and largely people signing up for Medicaid. Free health care.“
Does Mitch McConnell believe 60 percent of self-identified Republicans — his constituents — are freeloaders looking for a handout?
The truth is a significant portion of those who are newly eligible for Medicaid in Kentucky are the working poor who have jobs but don’t make enough money to purchase a private plan.
Kentucky has a poverty rate of 19.4 percent (2012), placing the state in the top 5 in the nation.