As the U.S. Senate this week voted to hold debate over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear accused some Republican politicians of “religious hypocrisy.”
Beshear said some lawmakers have turned their backs on people who need health care. The former Democratic governor said it’s unfortunate that elected leaders take advantage of religion and use it as a political tool.
"When a politician running for office talks in religious terms people believe them and think that's a good person, and vote for them. The problem is that a lot of these guys and gals preach like the prophets when they're running and govern like Pontius Pilate when they're serving," Beshear told WKU Public Radio. "What kind of Christian principles is it when you want to throw 22 million people off health care coverage? There may be problems with the Affordable Care Act, and we need to fix them, but the answer isn't to turn millions of people out of the health care they desperately need."
Beshear embraced the ACA in Kentucky by expanding Medicaid and setting up a state-run health exchange, which brought insurance coverage to more than 500,000 residents. The commonwealth’s uninsured rate dropped from about 20 percent to seven percent.
Current Republican Governor Matt Bevin argues the expansion can’t be sustained financially and has asked the federal government for a waiver to make significant changes to the state’s Medicaid system.
Beshear was in Bowling Green Tuesday to sign copies of his book People Over Politics. In it, he defends the ACA, same-sex marriage, cuts to the pension systems, and other decisions made during his two terms in office from 2007 to 2015.