This is just depressing.
BOONEVILLE — The 66 percent of Owsley County that gets health coverage through Medicaid now must reconcile itself with the 70 percent that voted for Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin, who pledged to cut the state's Medicaid program and close the state-run Kynect health insurance exchange.
Lisa Botner, 36, belongs to both camps. A Kynector — a state agent representing Kynect in the field — recently helped Botner sign up for a Wellcare Medicaid card for herself and her 7-year-old son. Without that, Botner said, she couldn't afford the regular doctor's visits and blood tests needed to keep her hyperthyroidism in check.
"If anything changed with our insurance to make it more expensive for us, that would be a big problem," Botner, a community college student, said Friday at the Owsley County Public Library, where she works. "Just with the blood tests, you're talking maybe $1,000 a year without insurance."
Yet two weeks earlier, despite his much-discussed plans to repeal Kynect and toughen eligibility requirements for Medicaid, she voted for Bevin.
"I'm just a die-hard Republican," she said.
Maybe you can blame it on Kim Davis. That's kind of what Owsley County Judge-Executive Cale Turner, a Democrat, does, when he says "[t]o be honest with you, a lot of folks in Owsley County went to the polls and voted against gay marriage and abortion, and as a result, I'm afraid they voted away their health insurance." Maybe you can blame the actual policy debate getting lost in a personal debate between Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway.
Maybe you can blame the county's largest newspaper, the Three Forks Tradition, which "did not say much about Kynect ahead of the election. Instead, its editorials roasted Obama and Hillary Clinton, gay marriage, Islam, 'liberal race peddlers,' 'liberal media,' black criminals and 'the radical Black Lives Matter movement.'"
It's hard to see how Conway could have even broken through all that to talk to voters in the county about what mattered more to them: Their healthcare, or whether people who have nothing to do with them are able to get married. And it's not just this county—around the state, statistical analysis of the vote found the "larger the Medicaid numbers, the more likely they were to back Bevin."
Maybe you don't blame anyone, but just take this as further evidence that progressives have a shitload of work to do in states like Kentucky to break the stranglehold that an increasingly extremist GOP has over them.