Rand Paul:'Not Sure' About Closing Kentucky Healthcare Exchange

Saturday, 31 May 2014 03:43 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Sen. Rand Paul says he remains committed to fully repealing Obamacare, but the Kentucky Republican admits he is not sure his state's successful insurance marketplace should be closed.

The senator says there remain unresolved issues with "how we unravel or how we change things," reports The Lexington Herald-Leader, but he's "not sure" when it comes to dismantling Kynect, the state insurance marketplace.

Last week, his fellow Kentucky senator, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was roundly criticized for suggesting that Kynect could survive even if Republicans are successful in repealing Obamacare.

Kynect receives subsidies from the government, which would be lost if Obamacare is repealed. But McConnell's campaign suggested that Kentucky voters could still decide whether to keep the exchange or set up a new one.

Paul insisted Friday he would "repeal all of ObamaCare," reports The Hill. However, Kynect is proving popular in Kentucky, where more than 413,000 people have signed on for health insurance through the system.

But there are more "big questions beyond the exchange and the Kynect and things like that," Paul said, including worries about how "these things" are going to be funded.

Meanwhile, Democrats are accusing McConnell of playing politics, the Lexington paper reports, by calling for the federal law to be repealed while keeping Kynect, statements critics say are being made to appease both parties. But McConnell's camp noted that both Utah and Massachusetts had their own healthcare exchanges before Obamacare took effect, and Kentucky could also run its own exchange if it wishes.

"I think the real question that we have in Kentucky is people seem to be very much complimenting our exchange because of the functionality of it, but there are still the unknown questions or what's going to happen with so many new people," Paul said. "I mean it's basically about a 50 percent increase in Medicaid in one year. That's a dramatic shot to a system. And my question is what will happen to local hospitals."

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