(UPDATED): OCTOBER 26, 2015
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
Many of the questionable assertions and outright misstatements in Sunday night’s debate for governor were about health care. Here’s a fact check:
Conway said he had cut his budget as attorney general by 40 percent. Bevin said that was a lie because the legislature writes the budget. The governor receives budget requests from agencies and proposes a budget to the legislature, which passes it.
Bevin said Conway lied when he said Bevin would kick half a million people off health care. Bevin said in February that he would immediately end Gov. Steve Beshear’s expansion of the Medicaid program. He has since denied saying that, and said last night that Democratic videos of his quotes omit the question he was asked, but that is not the case with his February quote. He now says he would seek a federal waiver to change the program. It might be argued that he could issue another executive order to replace Beshear’s, but the Medicaid program has certain requirements that must be met unless waived, and waivers are not available immediately. While Bevin has been vague about his Medicaid plans, he has made clear for the last three months that his actions would not be as abrupt as he first said they would be.
Conway said the Kynect health-insurance exchange, which Bevin wants to abolish, is three and a half times more efficient than the federal exchange, to which policyholders would go. Bevin said that is “an absolute falsehood” because Kynect is funded by a 1 percent fee on all health-insurance policies in Kentucky and only 2 percent of the policies are bought through Kynect. Conway said afterward that he was referring to the 3.5 percent fee charged by the federal exchange, which would make those policies more expensive. While the term “efficient” could arguably be applied to the cost of those policies, a more common interpretation of Conway’s comment would be that he was talking about Kynect’s operating efficiency.
Bevin said the Kentucky Health Cooperative, a non-profit health insurer that is closing due to losses and lack of money, was “a distinct part” of the study that predicted the Medicaid expansion would pay for itself until 2020. The cooperative is not mentioned in the study. Bevin said afterward that the co-op was part of the “inputs” considered by the study. Reminded that the issue was the sustainabilty of the Medicaid expansion, Bevin noted the 51,000 co-op policyholders who will be losing their coverage. Reminded that Kynect has seven other insurers they can select from, Bevin asked, “Where are those taxpayers dollars going to go?” He was reminded that the co-op was funded by federal dollars, and “Those are our dollars.” Bevin is running for governor, not president, but he is trying to appeal to people who dislike the entire “Obamacare’ system. He appears to be using the co-op’s failure to suggest that the system is not sustainable. However, the co-op, Kynect and the Medicaid expansion operate separately and are separately funded.
Conway quoted Bevin as saying that early childhood education, Conway’s main issue, “serves no purpose.” Bevin said was “another of those Democrat lies” because his full quote was that it serves no purpose after the third grade. That is based on a study that showed the effects of Head Start disappear after the third grade. Head Start is not the same as the early-childhood education program advocated by Conway, but Bevin has equated the two in the past.
Bevin said the state does not have the surplus that Conway mentioned because it has “tens of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities.” He was referring to state pension funds, which get annual appropriations from the budget but are financially separate. Budgets are for two years and the unfunded liability is for projected payments for current employees for the rest of their lives.
Bevin said, “It’s a false idea that coal jobs can’t come back.” He noted that world coal demand has never been higher, but that ignores the facts that many electric plants in the U.S. have abandoned coal for cheaper natural gas and the coal in Central Appalachia is by far the most expensive to mine in the U.S. The Kentucky part of that coalfield has lost half its coal jobs in the last three years.
2015 Governor Candidates
Lt. Governor Candidates
LOUISA, Ky. the November 3, 2015 race for Governor of Kentucky is down to the last ten days and candidates are revving their engines with new attack ads on radio and TV and the social media markets are getting more and more attention but a definite “issue” has yet to ring true with voters.
State wide, Kentucky has had a large increase in voter registration in both parties but the last general election drew less than 50% of the potential voters to the polls.
The 2015 election has had both candidates in the lead at one stage or another including The Lazer poll, which will be posted again up until the election. The Bluegrass Poll has had Bevin on top by more than 5% or less and the same for Conway.
Most of the time in the four decades I’ve been a Kentucky voter there was a party issue Democrats and Republicans all over the state had their own little elections to put the man in there that would deliver the state jobs avaialble in job scare eastern Kentucky, We’ve nearly come full circle after a 40 year coal boom when caution went into the wind and not much was done to establish a stable economy in coal dependent counties.
This time, who do you choose? Matt Bevin, the millionairre running to slow taxation, eliminate some services and make private schooling a choce – or Jack Conway who has, by most regards been an excellent Attorney General and has plenty of backing from the party and other insiders. Conway must overcome the shadow his party leader President Barrack Obama who is very unpopular in the eastern portion of Ky. mostly because of his tance on environmental regulations on coal and the EPA.
Then there’s the county clerk controversy on gay marriage where Carter County Clerk Kim Davis decided to take the law into her own hands and stood up for her religious beliefs against homosexuality and marriage which has been bounced around from the Supreme Court to the Vatican with no real result that I can see. Interestingly enough that issue could become a deciding factor in many conservative areas where Davis is looked upon as a hero. She has loudly endorsed Bevin.
The average Lawrence Countian like me has to look pretty hard to find a good reason to back either one, but at least we have a choice and that’s the main thing. Lawrence Co. Democrat chairman Lafe Hinkle, Jr. said the election could be close depending on the turnout. He said his party will “get moving” on electing a Democrat in November soon.
The local Democrat Women’s club has held functions on behalf of Conway and the rest of the ticket. Local Democrat office holders including judge/executive John Osborne, Sheriff, Garrett Roberts, PVA Chris Rose or Circuit Clerk Jody Parsley have made public endorsements.
But County Attorney Mike Hogan, always a GOP leader has been campaigning for Bevin and the entire Republican ticket.
The “down races”, meaning the other constitutional officers, have not delivered much star power either – oh, forgot that the current governor’s son is running as a Democrat candidate for attorney General. Grimes should win on sheer name power after running against Mitch mcconnell last year for the U.S. Senate and there is little chance that state auditor will face much opposition to the Auditor’s position.
Here’s some things you might want to look at.
Gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election
Incumbent Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is unable to run due to term limits and Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen (D) announced in April 2014 that she would not run for office. The 2015 pack of gubernatorial candidates was packed with Kentucky political heavyweights including former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott (R), 2014 U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin (R), Attorney General Jack Conway (D) and Kentucky Agriculture CommissionerJames Comer Jr. (R). Bevin led Comer by 83 votes after the primary but Comer has request a recanvas by elections officials before the vote is certified. Conway and running mate Sannie Overly defeated Geoff Young and Jonathan Masters in the Democratic primary held on May 19, 2015.
Attorney general election
- See also: Kentucky Attorney General election, 2015
Incumbent Jack Conway (D) is running for governor. Andy Beshear (D), the son of Gov. Steve Beshear (D), filed early and raised $1.4 million before any other candidates joined the race. This total compared to $1.9 million spent by Conway during his election bids in 2007 and 2011 and raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest if Beshear wins election. State Sen. Whitney Westerfield defeated Michael T. Hogan in the Republican primary on May 19, 2015, and will face Democratic candidate Andy Beshear in the general election on November 3, 2015.
2015 Sample Ballot
Secretary Grimes Announces Record Number of Registered Voters
More than 3.2 million Kentuckians are eligible to vote in the Nov. 3 General Election
FRANKFORT, Ky. (October 16, 2015) – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced today that Kentucky has set a new voter registration record, with more than 3.2 million Kentuckians appearing on the voter rolls for the Nov. 3 General Election.
The total number of registered voters—3,201,852—represents an increase of 25,947 registered voters since the Primary Election held in May.
“I am excited to see that more and more Kentuckians are registering to vote, and I hope these newly registered voters will exercise their right and responsibility to vote in the General Election,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official.
Each of the political parties has seen an increase in registered voters since the May 19, 2015, Primary Election. Democrats currently make up 52.63 percent of the electorate. 39.34 percent of voters are Republican. And 7.88 percent of voters are identified as “other.”
For the first time since at least 1999, Republicans now have a registration advantage in one of Kentucky’s six Congressional Districts, with 11 more registered voters than Democrats in the Fourth Congressional District. The District is comprised of all or part of Boone, Boyd, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Greenup, Harrison, Henry, Jefferson, Kenton, Lewis, Mason, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble Counties. The electorate there is comprised of 247,381 Republicans, 247,370 Democrats, and 60,184 “other.”
“The Republican majority in the Fourth Congressional District is consistent with the trend we’ve seen over the past several years of a greater percentage of voters identifying themselves as Republican,” said Grimes.
Approximately 53% of registered voters are women and 47% are men, which is consistent with the May Primary Election.
Voters may access the Voter Information Center (VIC) on the State Board of Elections’ website, www.elect.ky.gov, to confirm their voter registration status, view sample ballots, and locate their polling place. Complete registration statistics are also available on the State Board of Elections website.
For additional election information and announcements, visit www.sos.ky.gov, follow @kysecofstate on Twitter and like Kentucky Office of the Secretary of State on Facebook.