In Kentucky, the federal health care exchange created by the Affordable Care Act is called Kynect. Kynect is very popular, but ObamaCare is very unpopular. So it goes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to rip up ObamaCare “root and branch” and toss it in the mulch pile, but he doesn’t want to do a thing to Kynect because it has already given more than 400,000 Kentuckians health insurance, many for the first time. Of course, since Kynect and ObamaCare are actually two words for the same thing, it isn’t possible to kill one without killing the other.

The Lexington Herald-Leader explains:

Repeal the federal law, which McConnell calls “Obamacare,” and the state exchange would collapse.

Kynect could not survive without the ACA’s insurance reforms, including no longer allowing insurance companies to cancel policies when people get sick or deny them coverage because of pre-existing conditions, as well as the provision ending lifetime limits on benefit payments. (Kentucky tried to enact such reforms in the 1990s and found out we were too small a market to do it alone.)

Kentucky’s exchange also could not survive without the federal funding and tax credits that are helping 300,000 previously uninsured Kentuckians gain access to regular preventive medicine, including colonoscopies, mammograms and birth control without co-pays.

As a result of a law that McConnell wants to repeal, one in 10 of his constituents no longer have to worry that an illness or injury will drive them into personal bankruptcy or a premature grave.

Repealing the federal law would also end the Medicaid expansion that is enabling Kentucky to expand desperately needed drug treatment and mental health services.

Kynect is the Affordable Care Act is Obamacare — even if Kentuckians are confused about which is which.

The Herald-Leader goes on to wonder how average Kentuckians are supposed to understand the Affordable Care Act if Mitch McConnell doesn’t understand (or pretends not to understand) it himself.

The answer to that is pretty easy. If Kentuckians start with the presumption that nothing that Mitch McConnell says about Kynect or ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act is true, they will be much less confused. If they like Kynect, then they like ObamaCare and the Affordable Care Act. If they like it, they should vote out Mitch McConnell and prevent him from removing their benefits “root and branch.”

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at