Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) struggled to explain his feelings on Friday toward his state’s healthcare exchange, putting him alongside Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in an awkward position regarding the new service, Talking Points Memo reported.
“I’m not sure,” Paul told reporters on Friday, before launching into a halting explanation. “There’s going to be — how we unravel or how we change things. I would rather — I always tell people there’s a fork in the road. I was in healthcare for 20 years, so we had problems in healthcare, but we could have gone one of two directions. One was towards more competition and more marketplace and one was toward more government control.”
Earlier this week, Paul and McConnell seemed to be taken aback during a joint press conference when a reporter asked McConnell whether the exchange should be dismantled, considering his strong opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
McConnell paused for several seconds, then nearly handed the microphone to Paul before pulling it back and saying that subject was “unconnected” to his feelings on the health care law.
The exchange, known as Kynect, quickly became one of the high points in last year’s otherwise troubled implementation of the ACA, commonly known as “Obamacare.” Kynect has drawn praise from not only Gov. Steve Bashear (D) but multiple media reports.
To date, more than 413,000 Kentuckians have enrolled for the program. MSNBC reported earlier this month that, while the ACA remains unpopular in the state under its given name, Kynect is polling more favorably.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Paul did account for Kynect’s positive reviews on Friday, while calling the expansion of the state Medicare program implemented under the law a “shock to the system” and saying he would still vote to repeal the federal law itself.
“Can a state still have an exchange?” he was quoted as saying. “You know we live in a 50-state union so some states could have exchanges. They already did before Obamacare.”
Watch Paul’s remarks, as posted online on Friday, below.