Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where in the World is Kansas on Obamacare?
What’s the Matter with Kansas?  How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
Title  and subtitle of 2004 book by Thomas Frank, founding editor of The Baffler author of One Market Under God
I’ve been trying to figure out where Kansas stands on health care.  Kansas is the geographic center of the U.S. It’s a Republican state. It  has rejected  Obamacare’s health exchanges. 

But it has also produced Kathleen Sibelius, who has been Secretary  of Health and Human Services (HHS) since 2009.  She served as Democratic governor of Kansas from 2003 to 2009.  She is the public face of Obamacare. She is the federal official in charge of implementing Obamacare.
On the other hand, in 1998 the Kansas Republican party’s platform in 1998 called for “ no federal intervention in health care,” and last week, its Republican senator, Pat Roberts, in the Weekly Republican Address,  noted that if the national government couldn’t guarantee that the health exchanges would be ready by October 1, 2012, the exchanges should be shut down and Obamacare repealed.
Here is the text of his address.
SEN. PAT ROBERTS: “I am honored to represent the people of Kansas in the United States Senate. Let me be the first to wish you and your family a happy Independence Day as our nation recognizes our hard won freedoms.

“As we celebrate the fourth, it will be a mere 89 days until the October first deadline when millions of Americans are forced to purchase health insurance in a special marketplace or ‘exchange’ overseen by the federal government.

“Health care as you know it will change. Do you know how much your new plan will cost? Do you know what it will cover? Will you be able to see your family doctor? Will your personal health information remain private? Private and safe? Will you lose the health insurance plan you like? Will the high costs force your employer to make you a part-time employee, change your plan or just drop your coverage altogether?

“Simply put, will you and your family have the health insurance you need to ensure your well-being?

“Right now, you can’t answer these questions and neither can the Obama Administration.

“The Government Accounting Office found problems with the exchanges and could not ensure they would be up and running by the October first deadline. Time is running out. As one of the Democrat authors of the bill said, American families are facing ‘a train wreck.’

“Well, who is going to answer these questions? How will this massive federal government takeover of health care work? Even President Obama says there may be some ‘bumps’ and ‘glitches.’

“Well, in California those bumps and glitches are all too real for the 50,000 patients who will lose their coverage. Aetna, a major national insurer, will no longer offer individual market plans there. Those 50,000 people are expected to turn to the exchange. Well how many more insurers will follow suit?

“Too little is known about the exchanges. The fear is that only the sick will pay to join the exchange without young healthy people to foot the bill, then all costs will further skyrocket.

“Young healthy people find the exchanges so costly and objectionable that the administration is drafting the NBA and the NFL to pitch Obamacare. Good grief!

“Already we know premiums for many Americans will rise. Some estimates have found they will double, triple or even quadruple.

“Now folks, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Before Obamacare was forced through Congress in a misguided partisan federal takeover of health care, we had a rare opportunity to create real change. We should have expanded access to care for those in need while protecting the all-important relationship between you and your doctor.

“Yet, partisan politics got in the way. President Obama signed the bill without one Republican vote.

“A year ago this week, the Supreme Court affirmed what we said all along, this law is a new tax on American citizens. Therefore, the IRS is responsible for compliance. Yes, that’s the same IRS that intimidated Americans for their beliefs with unlawful scrutiny and audits and fines and then lied about it to the Congress. The American people do not trust the IRS – not with their taxes and not with their health care.

“You remember the President’s promise, that ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep it’? Not true for millions of Americans.

“Now Kansans understand all of this and they are fearful. Many are in the middle of life saving cancer treatments, or facing major heart surgery or a chronic health challenge like diabetes or arthritis. All those folks have doctors and treatment plans but face uncertainty about what the new law will bring.

“Now that’s why I have introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to ensure that the exchanges and the mandated tax cease to exist if the Administration is not ready October the first. We need to make the right kind of change to the health care system… change that doesn’t include higher taxes, higher premiums and decision-making by government bureaucrats rather than our own doctors.

“We must put an end to the fear and uncertainty. Those ‘bumps’ and ‘glitches,’ the president talks about? It’s a train wreck, folks, and we have to get America out of the way.”

Upon reading these words, Kathleen Sibelius must have  recalled  the words of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy said, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."  The only difference is that the man behind the curtain is another wizard,  President Barack Obama.

Tweet:   The 2 faces of Kansas are:  1) Kathleen Sibelius, HHS head, in charge of implementing it; 2) Senator Pat Roberts, who wants to shut it down.


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