McConnell: Health care will be central issue in 2014 elections

McConnell speaks on Obamacare and more at Frankfort Regional Medical Center

By Kevin Wheatley Published:

The state of America’s health care will be a focal point of the 2014 elections and is the “transcendent issue of our time,” U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday to a crowd of physicians and nurses at Frankfort Regional Medical Center.

Based on the advertisements his campaign has already run against Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, likely will be a key issue in McConnell’s reelection efforts.

Grimes announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate Monday. The election is November 2014, when 33 U.S. Senate seats and all 435 U.S. House seats will be on the ballot.

Speaking to about 50 in a conference room at FRMC, McConnell said Medicare must be revamped in order to maintain the program’s solvency, and Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid eligibility will mean hospitals will be “dealing with 300,000 additional Medicaid patients, all of whom will be rushing to your (emergency rooms).”

The Affordable Care Act will trigger “massive provider costs” for doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, home health care and others in the industry.

“We now have a gross debt the size of our economy, which makes us look a lot like a Western European country, a lot like Italy or Spain or Greece,” he said. “Much of the drivers of that debt are health care.

“… This is the one problem which if we do not get it fixed will guarantee that we don’t leave behind for our children the same kind of country our parents left behind for us.”

McConnell has held 36 other hospital town hall meetings. He’s expected to face tea party opposition in the Republican primary, and Grimes seems to be the early odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination.

McConnell was not available for questions from the media Tuesday after his remarks, citing a busy schedule, but he took questions from the audience.

He said the new health care law is considerably complex, noting the first 20,000 pages of the law reached seven feet when stacked behind him during a March speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

 “We’re never going to solve this problem until we adjust the eligibility for these very popular programs to the demographics of our country,” he said, noting life expectancies have risen considerably since Social Security was enacted in 1935.

“There is not enough health care providers you can cut, not enough taxes you can raise to deal with the challenge of the changes in the demographics of America.”

Some employers are stopping short of hiring more than 50 employees because they would be required to provide health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, McConnell said.

That has slowed economic recovery from the recession, he said.

“Since the (Great) Depression, after every deep recession, there’s been a quick bounce back,” he said. “In fact, the deeper the recession, the quicker the bounce back — until this one.”

McConnell touted the role he played in negotiating three major bipartisan agreements in recent years: the 2010 two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts; the Budget Control Act of 2011; and the fiscal cliff deal reached last New Year’s Eve.

He mentioned former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton when he said he’s looking for Obama to “move to the center” in negotiations.

“A little fix isn’t going to solve these problems that I’m talking about,” he said. “We need a systemic change in order to take the pressure off of health care providers.”

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  • Mitch McConnell is an A-Hole.  We have citizens that don't go to the doctor to treat their illnesses because they can't afford it.  He actually uses the fact that our citizens would finally have access to healthcare and be able to actually use it as a scare tactic against providing it.  I guess that fits his overall temperament -- he also wants to take away food stamps from starving children and calls them "takers".  How can anyone call themself a Christian, and profess to believing in Jesus' teachings, go along with taking away food from the poor and medical care from those that need it?  For those that believe "Jesus wept" (actual quote from a Republican leader) because our Nation is becoming more tolerant of others, I'd say that Jesus hasn't stopped crying since the Republicans sold their souls to big business.

  • Shogun, please put your tin hat back on and go sit in your bomb shelter like a good little conspiracy theorist.

  • Somebody tell me why BHO has requested 15000 Russian troops for duty in this country???

  • If the truth were known, the vast majority of all health care law is inherently impossible for the "common man" to understand.  This stuff is very complicated on the face of it, and anybody that has ever authored legal documents knows that legal terms are very explicit and must be crafted carefully as one word (like "is" for example) can change the entire meaning of a document.  Obamacare has to be complicated as it is weaving its proivisions into existing law over time, keeping some and superceding other parts, and not simply replacing it in toto.  It. Is. The. Law.  But the law is one thing and your insurance coverage is quite another.  There simply is no reason why your coverage cannot be laid out in layman's terms.  A little learning is a dangerous thing.

  • Since the Senator was not successful to make Obama a one-term president, the next best thing (for him) is to obstruct progress on any fronts. However, he leads himself to his own defeat in 2014 in this manner.

  • Typical McConnel BS.

  • The affordable health care act is 2409 pages as an Adobe .pdf file.  Hopefully the 20k thing is a mis-print.  I find it laughable that one of the requirements is that my health care provider sends me a document laying out in plain English what the plan will do and cover for me, while this 2409 page t3rd is impossible for the common (read not a lawyer) man to read.Ditch Mitch and the "Affordable Health Care Act"

  • It's easy to tell when Mitch McConnell is lying - whenever his thin lips ae moving!!!

  • I agree with the Ditch Mitch in 2014.  He's nothing but a clog that slows every progressive action down that President Obama tries to implement.  Wish he could be gone before 2014.

     

  • This guys lies to Kentuckians and Republicans like it's nothing. The law is not 20k pages. It is around 946 pages with the Reconciliation (https://www.healthcare.gov/where-can-i-read-the-affordable-care-act). He probably still have not read it, but spreads lies about its provisions and benefits to Kentuckians. However, everyone can read the information at: : http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/index.html, http://www.medicaid.gov/affordablecareact/affordable-care-act.html, http://www.irs.gov/uac/Affordable-Care-Act-Tax-Provisions, and http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform. I suggest that everyone read the info before listening to the junk McConnell spews. Then again, he will not meet with us in public since we do not immediately affect his aims. Can you still trust a guy who blatantly lies to his constituents?

  • This guys lies to Kentuckians and Republicans like it's nothing. The law is not 20k pages. It is around 946 pages with the Reconciliation (https://www.healthcare.gov/where-can-i-read-the-affordable-care-act). He probably still have not read it, but spreads lies about its provisions and benefits to Kentuckians. However, everyone can read the information at: : http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/index.html, http://www.medicaid.gov/affordablecareact/affordable-care-act.html, http://www.irs.gov/uac/Affordable-Care-Act-Tax-Provisions, and http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform. I suggest that everyone read the info before listening to the junk McConnell spews. Then again, he will not meet with us in public since we do not immediately affect his aims. Can you still trust a guy who blatantly lies to his constituents?

  • McConnell is evil.  Ditch Mitch in 2014.