Ed Schultz Talks ObamaCare With Kentucky Gov, Never Asks About High Percentage of Medicaid Enrollees

November 4th, 2013 6:20 PM

Ed Schultz on Monday spent half of his program praising the Kentucky health insurance exchange whilst playing lengthy clips of an interview he did with that state’s Democratic governor.

As Schultz held Steve Beshear and his state up as the gold standard for how ObamaCare can work, the MSNBC host didn’t ask his guest about the high percentage of exchange enrollees that were applying for Medicaid or a recent report from the state’s Department of Insurance predicting that 280,000 Kentuckians would lose their policies as a result of the law.

As the Ed Show began Monday, the host raved about Kentucky’s health insurance exchange and what a model it was for the country.

Clips were shown of Schultz interviewing Beshear in his office as well as at the state’s exchange.

The Governor supplied all kinds of statistics with Schultz: how many people aren’t insured in Kentucky, how many people have been at the exchange website, and how many have applied for insurance.

Yet despite talking about how he supports Medicaid expansion in his state, Beshear never mentioned the percentage of Kentucky enrollees applying for Medicaid versus private insurance, and Schultz never asked him about it.

No wonder, for a Washington Post article published Friday shed light on the looming disaster:

The first month of the new health law’s rollout reveals an unexpected pattern in several states: a crush of people applying for an expansion of Medicaid and a trickle of sign-ups for private insurance.

This early imbalance — in some places, nine out of 10 enrollees are in Medicaid — has taken some experts by surprise. The Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid to cover millions of the poorest Americans who couldn’t otherwise afford coverage, envisions a more even split with an expanded, robust private market. [...]

But if this trend continues, experts say it could prove costly for states that will have to help pay for some of these new Medicaid enrollees. It would widen disparities between the states that opted to expand the entitlement program and those that have not.

Low enrollment in private insurance, meanwhile, could increase premiums as it would likely indicate that only sick people, who really need coverage, were signing up.

According to the Post, 25,654 Kentuckians have applied for Medicaid via the exchange. This compares to only 5,891 appying for private insurance.

That means 81 percent of enrollees are applying for Medicaid setting up a possible fiscal disaster for Kentucky.

Now you know why Schultz and Beshear never brought this up. Instead they lambasted Kentucky Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul for their opposition to the program.

Something else Schultz and Beshear ignored was Saturday's Associated Press report about the number of Kentuckians losing health insurance as a result of ObamaCare:

About 280,000 Kentuckians will have to give up their current insurance policies in the months ahead and enroll in alternatives that comply with the federal Affordable Care Act.

Kentucky Department of Insurance spokeswoman Ronda Sloan said individual policies for about 130,000 people will be discontinued, as will small group policies for about 150,000 more.

Now one can certainly understand why Beshear didn't want to address either of these issues.

But for Schultz to spend almost half of his show raving about the success of Kentucky's exchange without mentioning the serious problems facing ObamaCare in that state is nothing but media malpractice.

Alas, this is standard operating procedure for Schultz who is one of the poorest examples of journalism in America today.

That he has his own show is an embarrassment to the industry and one of the reasons Americans hold journalists in such low esteem.