Tag Archives: ACA

Moving Forward on US Healthcare

New Orleans       Breaking away from a meeting with our new tenant organizers at a table in front of Publix grocery store in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, I had to find a place quiet enough to talk to Rosemarie Day about her take on expanding universal healthcare on Wade’s World . Walking down an alley fifty yards away, some of the restaurants were still not open for the day, so I found myself perching everything on top of a garbage receptacle, hoping it would work.

And, it was worth it!  We needed to see where he Affordable Care Act was going next, which made Day’s book, Marching Toward Coverage:  How Women Can Lead the Fight for Universal Healthcare, very timely.  Day had been there and done that as former chief operating officer for the Massachusetts Health Connector, which had been the model and precursor of the national legislation.  Before we talked about the prospects for extending coverage, we were hearkened by the news that in a hearing before the US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanagh had both seemed to signal that they saw the issue of the individual mandate before the court has one where severability would apply, meaning that even if they found one piece, even a fundamental one, constitutionally flawed, the act would still survive.  Day’s cut on this was that a simple legislative fix might work, even one that lowered the individual mandate penalties to only one-dollar.

Day’s call was for women to lead the charge for universal care, but she saw Biden’s public option as progress compared to where the ACA had been left.  There were other fixes that Biden could make to restore attacks on the ACA by the Trump administration.  Capping the deductibles closer to $3000 as Massachusetts had done and providing more generous incentives in the marketplace would also allow the ACA to get closer to the 95% plus range Massachusetts had achieved.  I hoped that would allow lower waged workers to not be blocked from the marketplace incentives by the play-pretend skinny plans with exorbitant deductibles offered by many employers of essential workers.

We agreed that the pandemic seemed to put wind in the sails of reform.  Day believed that heighten recognition of the need for more investment in public health would now be a major factor.  I hoped that the fact that an estimated 14 million had lost employer provided coverage due to layoffs and job losses in the pandemic depression would also point the way to a more robust federal health support.

The marketplace is also more inviting during the current enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.  Kaiser estimates that the cost of benchmark plans had fallen by 2%.  According to Get America Covered, a nonprofit advocate, two-thirds of customers on HealthCare.gov can find a plan for $10 a month or less.

Who knows if Day is right that women can lead the fight, but for sure someone has to step up, so why not women?

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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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