Mitch McConnell comes out of the Obamacare closet

Dave Berry couldn’t make this up (“this actually happened”).

Senator Mitch McConnell on Obamacare: “Let me tell you what we should have done. I know you don’t get a mulligan probably, in this business, but if we had a do-over what we should have done—instead of passing a 2,700-page monstrosity, with all the medicare reimbursement reductions, joblessness, and all the rest, what we should have done is gone in an entirely different direction, and torn down the silos. Right now, health insurance is sold in 50 different states. Tear down the silos, create a national, competitive health insurance market. Pit all the insurance companies against each other. That has a remarkable impact on lowering costs and keeping quality up.”

Wait. What? What was that last part? 

McConnell said he wants to “create a national, competitive health insurance market.” WHAT THE WHAT? 

Sometimes I wonder how many seminal moments are missed by the mainstream media, mostly as a trade for the eye-catching headline. Certainly I was outraged by Senator McConnell adding his name to the multitude of Republican candidates who have declared that they are “not a scientist,” and as such cannot judge whether humans are contributing to the planet warming. However, a fascinating revelation was overlooked last Thursday in an interview with the editorial board of the Cincinnati Enquirer; Senator Mitch McConnell has been in favor of Obamacare’s health care exchange this whole time! Misleading and, in some instances, unquestionably lying to his constituents shouldn’t surprise us, but after four-plus years of fire-breathing, earth-scorching assaults on Obamacare, McConnell is for a bigger, broader version run by the federal government?

I would normally allow for the possibility that McConnell just came to the realization that the health care exchanges created by Obamacare — the Affordable Care Act — are working, and that Kentucky’s version, KYnect, can serve as a model for all 50 states … or that he doesn’t understand the ACA. But in reality, nobody can honestly suggest that McConnell is not a smart man — dangerously smart in fact — so it would be hard to believe he doesn’t understand every intricacy of the law.

Moreover, in advocating for his idea of a nationally-run exchange, he contradicts the fundamental tenet when it is called “Obamacare.” McConnell, arguably Obamacare’s chief rival, is advocating for a nationwide health insurance exchange. And who would run this exchange, Senator? Unless we move to a purely corporate state, it would have to be operated by the federal government — and he knows that.

So when he asserts, “There’s one way to make sure everybody has an insurance card, and that’s have the government take it over. You have that in England, you have that in Canada. It’s called a single-payer system. But then you have a whole different set of problems: long waiting lines. All kinds of bureaucracy,” McConnell is playing us as fools. You can call it whatever you want — single-payer, marketplace exchange — the point remains that he is suggesting Americans purchase their insurance through a system managed by the federal government. 

Furthermore, just a few minutes prior, he argued that “you can have an exchange with or without Obamacare.” So Senator, it has taken you almost 30 years in the Senate to tell us we can have an exchange. That is not a question. It took President Obama just a few days over 14 months from his first inauguration to sign the law providing us with those exchanges.

It is patently false that you can have an exchange without Obamacare. The health insurance system is not capable of functioning with one state on an exchange and others back to the wild wild West, and insurance companies would never want that. 

This is not a debate over the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. There is not enough space in LEO to correct the litany of lies, misleading statements, as well as provide a complete explanation of ways in which Senator McConnell is being disingenuous.

Election Day is four weeks away. Given this valuable remaining time to make your decision, consider that our senior Senator — a man who has been in office for 30 years; a man who has fought President Obama for six years; a man who has dragged us along on his personal quest for political supremacy — is playing us all for fools. Mitch McConnell knows exactly what he is doing on his campaign. Let’s use this last month to challenge how his national, health-exchange marketplace is so much better, or even different, than the policy he has been disparaging for the last four years. And why we should excuse his duplicity?