Friday, February 3, 2017

Powell County insurance agent and Democratic chair says connecting health insurance with Obama is a 'no-no' in her county

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Josie Hollon meets someone at least once a week in her community who depends on health coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, yet voted for President Donald Trump.

"They will come into the office and say, 'I don't want the Obamacare, but I would like the affordable health care'," Hollon, an insurance agent and chairwoman of the Powell County Democratic Party, told Kevin Wheatley of Spectrum News.

"But you try to explain it and they are so against that president that they don't want to talk about that, so we really don't even mention the Obamacare. It's just the affordable health care and try to get them to where they do have health coverage and they can get some help with their medical problems."

Trump, who campaigned heavily on the promise of repealing the ACA, perhaps better known by its Obamacare nickname, took Kentucky's eight electoral votes by nearly a 30-point margin on Election Day, Wheatley notes. The margin was even greater in Powell County, where he got 73 percent of the vote.

Kentucky has been called an ACA success story by many on the left. The state's uninsured rate plummeted more than any other state's. Expanded Medicaid has given nearly 2,000 Powell County residents health coverage since it began in 2014, among some 440,000 low-income Kentuckians newly eligible for the program, Wheatley writes.

Hollon said she doesn't bother anymore explaining that the Obamacare some in her community despise is the same federal health law that helps them get coverage.

"You don't even try," she told Wheatley. "The thing is, and the solution is, we need to get them health coverage, so stop trying to associate it with the president. That's a lost cause."

Hollon called Trump's executive action on the federal health law "destructive," but told Wheatley she would base her judgment against Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare on their place to replace it.

Hollon says Democrats could have done more to promote the benefits of the ACA during the last election cycle. She also has ideas about how Democrats could improve their prospects in Kentucky: Improve grassroots efforts and get more face-to-face interactions with voters, with the help of the state Democratic Party, Wheatley reports.

"I would hope that they would come here and help us get this word out that we're not un-Christian, we're not some horrible Democrat Party that's trying to give everything away and take things away from you," Hollon told Wheatley. "And I think a lot of that's got to do with our marketing ourself. We need to get out and do more talking and grassroots."

To read another story from Wheatley about how the ACA affects Powell County, click here.

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