Obama's State of Union speech includes praise for Beshear for Kentucky's health care push

syoungman@herald-leader.comJanuary 28, 2014 

President Obama lauded Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, right, during the State of the Union address for efforts to enroll ­Kentuckians in health care plans.

CHARLES DHARAPAK — Associated Press

President Barack Obama on Tuesday night hailed Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear for implementing the president's health care law in Kentucky, praising the governor who attended the speech in Washington, D.C., as Obama's guest.

In defending and promoting the embattled and controversial law, Obama listed the high points since the majority of it took effect Oct. 1 and railed against Republican efforts to repeal it.

"And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who's here tonight," Obama said. "Kentucky's not the most liberal part of the country. That's not where I got my highest vote totals. But he is like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth's families."

The president continued, quoting Beshear at length: "'They're our friends and they're our neighbors,' (Beshear) said. 'They are people we shop and go to church with ... farmers out on the tractors ... grocery clerks ... they are people who go to work every morning praying they don't get sick. No one deserves to live that way.'

"Steve's right. That's why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31. Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. It will give her some peace of mind — plus, she'll appreciate hearing from you."

Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear, flew to Washington on Tuesday morning to attend the speech at the president's invitation.

After the speech, the governor issued a statement saying they were honored to attend and "hear the president praise Kentucky as a national model for providing affordable, accessible health care to every one of our citizens."

"We're very proud to have the commonwealth in the national spotlight," Beshear said. "Our work in providing access to health care will strengthen our families as well as our work force."

Beshear also said he was pleased to hear the president push for raising the minimum wage and improving early childhood education.

Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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