Posts Tagged ‘Affordable Care Act’

Key Issues in the 2014 Elections

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

If you had any doubts that the Affordable Care Act would be an issue in the 2014 elections, they were quickly put to rest during Monday’s edition of Kentucky Tonight. The discussion rapidly and repeatedly turned from next year’s races to health care, as members of our panel tried to see who could best defend the rollout of Obamacare or point out its flaws.

When we were able to talk about political campaigns, much of the discussion focused on what many pundits think will be the most-watched U.S. Senate race in 2014: the contest between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin.

During the program, Bill Garmer, the former chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party, questioned what Mitch McConnell stands for after three decades in the Senate. Tres Watson, chair of the Kentucky Young Republican Federation, challenged that statement by accusing President Obama of creating a “nanny” state in the nation – which opened the door to more conversation about Obamacare from Jennifer Moore, chair of Emerge Kentucky and a former chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party, and Nathan Haney, chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party. Here’s a look at that portion of the show:

Everyone agreed that coal would be a significant issue in the Senate race, with McConnell and Grimes having to explain their positions on mining as well as on diversification efforts in and economic aid to eastern Kentucky. Fundraising will also be critical, both in terms of the money the candidates will need to raise for their campaigns, and Sen. McConnell’s ongoing efforts to eliminate limits on political contributions.

In the closing minutes of the program, we touched on next month’s special election to fill the state house seat recently vacated by John Arnold. Two female candidates are competing in that western Kentucky contest: Republican Suzanne Miles and Democrat Kim Humphrey.

And we discussed the prospects of first-time Representative Andy Barr winning re-election in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. You can watch the full program on our website.

Here We Go Again!

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

As I write this, the atmosphere in Washington is electric with speculation about the debt ceiling and the lingering federal government shutdown. Yesterday, the Senate, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was in the spotlight with a plan. Today, House Republicans are proposing their own package to open the government, lift the debt ceiling, and make several changes to the Affordable Care Act. It’s anyone’s guess whether this plan can pass the House, much less mesh with the Senate’s plan or gain the president’s approval.

Monday night on Kentucky Tonight, we had our own electricity in the KET studios with two former Kentucky Congressman debating these issues from the opening bell.

Same Story, Same Verse

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

A week into the government shutdown, and nine days until the debt ceiling will be reached, there’s not a lot of “new” coming out of Washington.

All sides remain at a standstill. At the moment, no talks are scheduled between any of the key players. Congressional Republicans and Democrats are still on the floor of the House of Representatives making their five-minute speeches on C-Span. Senators are giving occasional interviews on cable news channels to express their viewpoints. As this column comes together, President Obama is talking – to the White House press corps.

In other words, nothing appears to be happening to move the federal government out of shutdown mode.

At the heart of all of this is the Affordable Care Act.

On Kentucky Tonight Monday, our panel debated the three-year-old law almost as if it had not passed both houses of Congress and been signed by the president. Even though parts of the law are already in place, and health insurance exchanges like our state’s Kynect program are signing up people for coverage, opponents of “Obamacare” continue to pound away at the law and find flaws with its implementation.

Our guests last night were State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, vice chair of the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Human Resources; Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, vice chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee; Dr. Peter Thurman, medical director at Family Health Centers in Louisville; and Dr. Ralph Alvarado, an internist and pediatrician in Winchester.

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