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Senate Minority LEader Mitch McConnell (R. KY) was on PBS News Hour this past week to talk about the Affordable Care Act:

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Well, look, I don't think anybody could make this work.

We said back in 2009, when it was passed, without a single vote to spare, not a single member of my party in the House or Senate voting for it, it couldn't possibly work. We predicted that insurance -- health insurance premiums would go up, jobs would be lost, and the president's principal promise that, if you had your health insurance and you liked it, you would be able to keep it, none of that would happen.

Regretfully, from the point of view of those who advocated this, the critics were entirely correct. The website may be a good item for late-night comedy, but even if people are able to get on it, one thing you can be sure of is, the choices will not be good, the premiums will be higher. - PBS News Hour, 10/30/13

That's interesting because someone is making the health care law work:

With our long-standing tradition of timid politicians fearful of incurring the wrath of the anti-government mobs, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see Kentucky join much of Red America and reject both Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion to the working poor, as well as its option of establishing a state-run health benefit exchange to provide affordable health care to the remaining uninsured.

But in a delicious irony, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul’s home state may ultimately serve as the proving ground of Obamacare’s success. That’s due to the political chutzpah of one man: Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

Over the past several months, Beshear used his broad executive powers to bypass resistance from the GOP-controlled state Senate to ensure that the Commonwealth is the only Southern state that both expanded its Medicaid rolls and opened up a health benefit exchange, providing access to affordable health care to our more than 640,000 uninsured citizens. And while the federal launch of the program has been plagued with technical difficulties, Kentucky’s experience has been exemplary:  In its first day, 10,766 applications for health coverage were initiated, 6,909 completed and 2,989 families were enrolled. Obama himself bragged that Kentucky led the nation with its glitch-minimized performance.

It would be hyperbolic to crown Steve Beshear as a profile in courage. The Governor’s second and final term expires in two years, and he’s made clear that this is his last political hurrah. However, Beshear is keenly interested in the political prospects of his son Andy—the betting favorite in the 2015 race for Attorney General—and he understands that even a tangential connection to the unpopular Obama carries a heavy political burden. Furthermore, the Governor isn’t quietly going about the business of administering the new law: Beshear has been gleefully poking the eye of the Tea Party beast — and its subservient U.S. Senators—and channeling Harry Truman in the national media circuit:  In a recent New York Times op-ed, Beshear crowed: “[T]o those more worried about political power than Kentucky’s families, I say, ‘Get over it’…and get out of the way so I can help my people. Here in Kentucky, we cannot afford to waste another day or another life.”

The issue indeed is quite personal to the Governor. As he explained to me this week, “[These] are not political decisions. They are moral decisions…Taking these steps will mean that, for the first time, every single Kentuckian will have access to affordable health care. Over the next generation, this will change the course of Kentucky’s history.” - The Daily Beast, 10/17/13

In fact, Beshear (D. KY) is guaranteeing that the ACA is implemented successfully:

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, 26,174 Kentuckians had enrolled in new health insurance using the exchange. Of those, 21,342 had enrolled in Medicaid and 4,832 had enrolled in a qualified health plan.

Beshear, who was repeatedly pressed by moderator David Gregory to discuss the national exchange instead of Kentucky’s, said the president’s law will work.

“People are going to sign up for this,” Beshear said. “It’ll take us a while to get it in process, but I’ll guarantee you we’re going to make it work because it’s good for the American people and it’s good for Kentucky.”

To the law’s critics, Beshear advised they “take a deep breath.”

“Look, this is going to take some time to get done, but everybody needs to chill out because it is going to work,” the governor said. - Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/27/13

But that's McConnell's worst fear.  The ACA working effectively in Kentucky and Democrats slamming him in next year's election for denying people in his state access to affordable health care.  McConnell already has a tough re-election campaign ahead of him:

Mitch McConnell's campaign will face a $300,000 negative ad campaign from the generally Democratic-supporting Patriot Majority PAC. That campaign, according to Politico, will run from October 30 through November 5 in every Kentucky market. McConnell is up for re-election in 2014, and faces a Republican primary challenge in May from Tea Partier and Kentucky businessman Matt Bevin. The Senate Minority Leader is already campaigning for re-election after facing challenges from both sides of the political spectrum.

There are few details on the content of the PAC's ads for the new campaign. But the group has targeted McConnell before on a general "kick out the comfortable incumbent" platform:

- The Atlantic Wire, 10/29/13

It's bad enough that he has Alison Lundergan Grimes (D. KY) to deal with next year, he also has this guy who's a pin in his ass:

Republican Matt Bevin will go up on the radio Thursday with an ad criticizing Sen. Mitch McConnell for brokering the deal to end the government shutdown and extend the debt limit earlier this month.

In the ad, Bevin accuses McConnell of “funding” the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

His campaign said the ad is running in Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green. Spokeswoman Sarah Durand termed the size of the ad buy “substantial.”

The ad tries to paint McConnell as a liberal and uses words of praise for him by influential Senate Democrats who gave him credit for ending the deadlock, which shuttered some government offices for 16 days. - Louisville Courier-Journal, 10/30/13

And Grimes has been reminding voters that McConnell is to blame for the government shutdown:

When the dust of the government shutdown fight settled, pundits were quick to divide Democrats and Republicans into winners and losers. Discussion circled around political spin, capital and motives. Forgotten in the chatter, however, were the men, women and children of Kentucky who paid the real price for Congress’s manufactured crisis.

From the thousands of furloughed employees at Forts Knox and Campbell, to the small businesses that were unable to open their doors and Louisville flood victims left with no flood relief, the reckless government shutdown devastated Kentucky families and our economy. The financial impact has been staggering, including an estimated $2.4 billion in lost travel spending and $450,000 a day in lost revenue from our national parks.

During the days of the crisis, Sen. Mitch McConnell voiced support for the foolish shutdown plan that caused real pain for people across the country. McConnell called the plan to shut down the government “reasonable,” and day after day he went to the Senate floor to defend the shutdown strategy. McConnell should be held responsible for the billions that were lost and the millions of people who were hurt.

McConnell’s last-minute efforts to end the shutdown do not change the fact he caused it. The final deal was nearly identical to what McConnell could have endorsed weeks earlier, but he decided to do what he thought was best for himself politically — no matter the consequences for Kentuckians. - Louisville Courier-Journal, 10/29/13

By the way, some big celebrity names are helping fuel Grimes' campaign to help take out McConnell next year:

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) has racked up donations from at least 66 Hollywood celebrities in her race for U.S. Senate, in the wake of mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg's rallying call to defeat Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation and a top Democratic fundraiser, emphasized the importance of Grimes’ campaign in a recent letter to potential donors, calling the Kentucky race “a pivotal election that can get the Senate working again.”

“There is no more important election being held next year in this country,” Katzenberg wrote in the letter, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

Hollywood stars together donated more than $250,000 from July through September toward Grimes’ campaign to unseat McConnell, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission documents by The Hill.

A-listers Leonardo DiCaprio, Danny DeVito, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Mike Myers, James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Jon Hamm and Nicolas Cage have all contributed the maximum $5,200 to the Grimes campaign. Other donors included Ben Stiller, Leonard Nimoy and Woody Allen. - Huffington Post, 10/29/13

If you would like to donate or get involved with Grimes' campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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