MADISONVILLE, Kentucky — In a parallel universe, Matt Bevin might not be an anti-Obamacare crusader, but instead a poster child for the issues with the old health insurance industry and the ways in which the Affordable Care Act now prevents insurers from taking advantage of consumers.
That’s because Bevin, a Republican Senate candidate trying to unseat Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), himself was once the victim of an unfair insurance industry practice: Denying coverage to consumers because of a pre-existing condition.
During a campaign stop in western Kentucky on Monday, Bevin told the crowd that after leaving a job, “My wife and I literally didn’t have health care for about a year because of a pre-existing condition.”
Was it cancer? Heart disease? Pancreatitis? No. It wasn’t a health condition at all. “I was rather shocked… What it was is that we were adopting. That’s considered a pre-existing condition,” Bevin said. He and his wife have four adopted children from Ethiopia in total. As a result, Bevin noted, “For over a year or so, I had no coverage for my entire family. That’s a little bit unnerving for people.”
Bevin’s experience is exactly the type of ordeal that families no longer have to go through now that Obamacare is the law of the land. Before health reform, millions of Americans were denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions — often, for common and minor ailments like old knee injuries, asthma, and even acne. Now, insurers are required to cover people regardless of their pre-existing health conditions. And like Bevin, many Americans’ coverage used to be put in jeopardy every year when they lost or changed jobs; but now, the law’s new marketplaces give people more options.
Despite unwittingly making a succinct case in favor of health reform, Bevin’s takeaway from his own insurance debacle was that we need to repeal Obamacare and instead “let states come up with solutions.” He told the crowd that he remains committed to “100 percent repeal,” even in a state where Obamacare’s popularity has resulted in a 40 percent drop in the uninsurance rate and given health coverage to more than 400,000 Kentuckians.