Kentucky a leader among States

Kentucky State Capitol - Frankfort, Ky.
Though I’m not a native, I love Kentucky.

Her terrain, her people, and her culture make her one of the Union’s most spectacular states. Unfortunately, we have historically ranked near the bottom in other important metrics such as health, economics, and education.

So when Kentucky is heralded as a model for something done right, we should accept the compliment with gratitude and take pride in a job well done.

Politics aside, we should be taking pride in the fact that Kentucky is being heralded by politician and prognosticator alike for kynect.ky.gov.

That is Kentucky’s healthcare exchange website created under the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare).

Among those breathing the words “Kentucky” and “success” (without the word “basketball”) in the same sentence have included those at the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville indicated President Obama’s pride in the Commonwealth, “The president said ... the place that has done best is Kentucky.”

So while Washington’s healthcare.gov was haphazardly unveiled with only limited testing, Kentucky’s website was smartly created with sigificant testing along with utilizing a simpler website design less likely to cause headaches.

It worked. A simple website design was needed because many Kentuckians do not have high-speed Internet, a problem that plagues many rural parts of the country. Kentucky considered this fact, though it seems that the federal website ignored this factor.

Of course, many can’t seem to put politics aside and just be proud of the Commonwealth’s achievement.

The Republicans — five Congressmen and two Senators — sent by Kentuckians to Washington have derided Obamacare at every opportunity along with the federal government’s healthcare.gov.

They have, however, been largely silent on Kentucky’s own success story.

I understand the politics at play, but I cannot accept partisanship over pride when it comes to the Commonwealth.

I’d suggest Sens. McConnell and Paul and Reps. Barr, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers, and Whitfield each issue a statement along these lines: “Though personally opposed to Obamacare, I commend the ingenuity and hard work involved in creating Kentucky’s website. The country should look to states like Kentucky for leadership, not Washington.”

That would be a strong message of democracy in action, of federalism, and of conservative values while still expressing a “job well done” mentality. It’s the kind of statesmanship that is missing in Washington.

Instead of taking that approach, Sen. Paul prophesied the failure of Obamacare over the weekend because it was a government-created solution.

“I think government is inherently inept, because they don’t work on a profit motive,” Paul said.

While Sen. Paul may believe government to be inherently inept, it is disturbing to follow his logic.

Consider the following which don’t operate “on a profit motive”: churches, charities, aid relief organizations, non-profits.

While specific organizations may have flaws, the non-profit motive does not make an organization “inherently inept.”

Sen. Paul, an ophthalmologist, is known to provide pro bono eye surgeries to Kentuckians during Congressional recesses. And he should be commended for giving back to needy Kentuckians.

But using the Senator’s own logic, would he suggest that his performance during a pro bono surgery is inept simply because it is being provided without a profit motive?

Of course, he wouldn’t. I’m sure that Dr. Paul takes great care in each surgery he performs. I’m sure he always does his very best.

Yet so do churches, charities, aid relief organizations, non-profits. And yes, even governments.

So take heed of these Kentucky lessons. To do your best, to accept a compliment with gratitude, and to take pride in a job well done.

This column originally appeared in the Jessamine Journal
It should not be republished without permission.
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