Category Archives: Health Care

Finally, The End for Kris Kobach

New Orleans     What a great birthday present – happy birthday to me!  Kris Kobach was defeated in the Republican primary in Kansas in his latest bid for another elected job, this time vying for an open seat in the U.S. Senate.  That wasn’t the only great news from the primary elections, but it makes my day even more special.  The fact that Missouri voters joined the Medicaid expansion list of states under the Affordable Care Act is like an extra dab of icing on the cake.  Oklahoma earlier this year, and now Missouri, hey, ACA haters, are you hearing the voters?  Better listen up!

I don’t want to get distracted though from the Kobach story, because if we can start believing in Kansas voters, then there’s hope for America.  Kobach didn’t just lose in the primary, he was beat down like a mangy dog.  Notice I didn’t say redheaded stepchild, having been a redhead forever, even if it doesn’t look that way on this birthday.  The winner, some more moderate, mainstream conservative polled 158,208 with 40.3% of the vote and Kobach tallied a measly 26.3% of the vote, barely breaking 100,000 by only 3197 votes.  I worried for a minute that there might be a breath of political life for Kobach, if there were a runoff since no candidate had more than 50% of the vote, but thanks to Ballotpedia, I can assure right thinking people everywhere that Mr. Hater-Baiter Kobach is toast, since they clearly state that by Kansas statues:

The winner of a primary election is the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes cast for that office, even if he or she does not win an outright majority of votes.

Hip, hip, hooray!

This makes Kobach a two-time loser.  There’s a Democrat now sitting in the governor’s chair in Kansas, thanks to the fact that Kobach was the Republican nominee for governor in that election.  Yes, if we wanted to live dangerously, we might have hoped that Kobach was the Republican nominee for Senate, giving a Democrat the best chance to take the seat in that state since 1932, but I’m sorry, I’m grabbing this bird in the hand.  To do otherwise would be the equivalent of helping the next Joe McCarthy get elected, just substitute Kansas for Wisconsin.

Kobach, to remind everyone, has been the primary architect of one anti-immigrant law and referendum after another.  Remember him please as the enabler of Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  His second infamous claim has been as a leader in voter suppression.  In Kansas he became a laughing stock trying to prove voter fraud, where there was none.  Trump made him a principle in his committee to try to establish voter fraud in the 2016 election, and with Kobach in the lead and fake data, fake purges, and fake press releases, the whole committee crashed and burned.   I could go on and on about his outrages and destruction of any pretense of democracy, but now, why bother?

Kobach first came to my attention when he ran for Kansas Secretary of State on a platform more than a decade ago to keep ACORN from stealing the election, even though ACORN had no staff, office, or operations in Kansas at the time.  He is just a two-bit demagogue, who has been in my sights since then, but you know the old saying, “what goes around, comes around.”

His career in political office is done.  How sweet it is!

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Expanded Medicaid

The Pandemic Case for the Affordable Care Act

New Orleans       There’s no rhyme or reason to it, but bizarrely the Trump administration recently marched into court to once again challenge the legal standing of the Affordable Care Act.  Perhaps someone in the campaign wasn’t sure that former Vice President Joe Biden had enough issues already to make his case, so they wanted to remind him that his work with the Affordable Care Act was still a straight arrow to the heart and health of America ready in his quiver to bleed out the president.

The numbers are no friend to the administration.  In fact, the latest reports seem to indicate that they may be trying to sweep the pandemic surges under the rug by having hospitals drop reporting to the Center for Disease Control and instead cycle them over to a private contractor.  The one set of numbers they can’t really hide are those that indicate the numbers of people who are losing healthcare in the middle of the pandemic.  Job and employer-based insurance doesn’t travel well to the unemployment line.  5.4 million Americans lost health insurance in four months because of job losses, shattering a record according to Families USA.  Kaiser estimates the number is 27 million, counting family members as well.  That’s a lot of Americans who are now facing huge risks with no safety net.

As the virus surges in the South and the West, it is hard not to note that it is in these two regions where redder states have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act for largely ideological reasons, leaving jobless victims without health care in double jeopardy. And, why?  The most common rationale was fear over future costs as the government’s initially generous shouldering of the cost ebbs.  Turns out that doesn’t hold any water.  Two Harvard economists have calculated that the money spent on Medicaid expansion more than paid for itself, even after accounting for the fact that benefits that come in the future are worth less today, making the Affordable Care Act a great deal.

The public knows it, especially now.  Ask Oklahoma, a state so red that it’s margin of victory for Trump was close to astronomical in 2016.  They may be conservative there, but they’re not crazy.  They weren’t willing to risk their lives for Trump’s Tulsa rally for one thing, but more importantly, they voted soundly to direct the state recently to add Oklahoma to the expanded Medicaid states under the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans opposing the Affordable Care Act now in the time of pandemic is not a viable healthcare strategy.  It’s a retirement plan, sealed and specially delivered by the American people.

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