By Matthew Jackson, Opinion Editor
Whenever a newly elected official first enters the office, it is expected for them to make a few executive type decisions that set the stage for what they plan to do with their platform. Kentucky’s newly elected Republican governor, Matt Bevin, is no exception. However, Bevin’s agenda-setting decisions seem to be more directly aimed at cementing Kentucky’s status as a loud and proud conservative state.
Matt Bevin’s decision to immediately dismantle the Kentucky healthcare program, Kynect, is highly controversial on both sides of the aisle. The executive director of the Family Health Centers in Louisville stated, “It’s a great disappointment (and) it’s an unwelcome setback in our efforts to reach the number of uninsured people and improve access to health care in Kentucky.” Many Kentuckians are concerned about what is behind Bevin’s true motivation for ridding Kentucky of the Affordable Care Act. Is it to benefit the state’s economy? Or, could it be to send a strong message of dissatisfaction to the Obama administration?
Since coming into office, Bevin has worked to repeal anything that may be deemed liberal from the administration of his Democratic predecessor. As the Courier-Journal stated, Bevin did campaign on the promise to fight Obamacare in Kentucky, many did not expect the new governor to immediately repeal a healthcare program that was successfully working thus far in the state. However, it seems that the current perogative of the Bevin administration is to establish itself as a staunchly conservative one. Bevin is doing everything within his power to secure a strong Republican base of support.
The effect this style of leadership will have on the state of Kentucky should be called into question. How will completely isolating the Democratic party benefit the state of Kentucky? Most importantly, how will making decisions that are so heavily influenced by one political ideology benefit the state in the future? Yes, Kynect was the result of Obama’s Affordable Care Act. However, the plan that was set in place for Kentucky was not “liberal”. Kynect was established to assist Kentuckians as they chose the healthcare plan that best fit their needs. It was not taking away American jobs or giving away tax payer money. As Fortune magazine stated, both liberals and conservatives argued that the program was exceeding expectations. So, why is our state’s leader taking it away?
The Bevin administration is not the root of our current problem. It is the mindset that motivates them that is. This mindset being the idea that one political party, and all of that party’s concepts, should control the U.S. government. This level of partisan pride exist at the core of both the Republican and Democratic sides. The dismantling of a successful program like Kynect, is only the latest example of this political tension. As long as this mindset persists in the Bevin administration, Kentucky can only expect more of what they have already seen: fixing something that was not broken in the hopes of convincing everyone that it was.