McConnell Promotes Alternative To 'Obamacare'

Nov 12, 2013

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that President Barack Obama's health care law is beyond repair and should be repealed.

At a press conference in Louisville Tuesday, Kentucky's Senior Senator outlined long-standing Republican counterproposals he touted as ways to help the uninsured.

The campaign for McConnell's chief Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, said the senator resorted to "Washington finger-pointing" without offering new ideas. Grimes says parts of the beleaguered law need fixing.

McConnell, seeking a sixth Senate term next year, warned the botched rollout of the federal website meant to enroll millions in new coverage was the start of problems for what he called the worst law in modern times.

"No amount of cosmetic changes around the edges are going to fix it," McConnell told reporters. "It isn't fixable."

McConnell said Congress needs to start over. He outlined a counterproposal that includes letting consumers shop for insurance across state lines, promoting state high-risk pools to provide coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions and letting small businesses band together to negotiate for insurance coverage.

Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton said the candidate supports changes to the law to enable people to keep existing plans and to extend the deadline to sign up for coverage through the federal online marketplace, Norton said.

About 280,000 Kentuckians will have to give up their current insurance policies in coming months and enroll in alternatives to comply with the health care law.

Matt Bevin, McConnell's Republican challenger, calls the health care law a disaster that needs to be repealed.

Meanwhile, McConnell said the decision to expand Kentucky's Medicaid program was "highly irresponsible."

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear announced the expansion last spring to cover an additional 300,000 people, most of them the working poor lacking insurance coverage. Beshear calls it the right decision for Kentucky in terms of its health and finances.

Washington will pick up the entire expansion cost for the first three years, and 90 percent over the longer haul.

McConnell warned "all bets are off" for federal funding after three years, due to the federal debt.

"Which means that the next governor, whoever that may be, is going to be stuck with a huge, huge problem," he said.