Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell once again used the annual Kentucky Farm Bureau's annual country ham breakfast to offer dueling narratives about the federal healthcare overhaul. Beshear, a Democrat, touted Thursday the success of the state’s health insurance exchange, harping on the 520,000-plus sign-ups since enrollment began last fall. He highlighted its effect on rural counties across the Commonwealth. “Before Kynect, in Christian County, down in my end of the state, 17 percent of the adults were uninsured," Beshear said. "That number is now estimated at 12.1 percent.” For his part, McConnell, the Republican leader locked in a tight re-election campaign, echoed familiar GOP talking points criticizing the law. He recited claims that the health exchange will lead to millions of lost jobs and hurt health care providers. “The Congressional Budget Office, which doesn’t work for either Republicans or Democrats -- in fact the current head is a former Clinton staffer -- said that Obamacare is going to cost us 2.5 million
jobs. It’s a job killer.” The head of the CBO has refuted that claim. McConnell's speech -- which also touched upon the state's agricultural prowess, hemp legislation and his advocacy for the repeal of the estate tax -- drew two standing ovations from the breakfast crowd.