Too bad The Punisher is already taken, because state Senator John Lamping of Ladue has figured out how to save us from the Socialist hordes in Washington, headed up by Barack Obama and John Roberts, and punishing poor and middle class people along the way? Hey, that’s a feature, not a bug. He has filed a bill that would make it law that the license to do business of any insurance company that complies with the federal Affordable Care Act and files the paperwork for premium support subsidies for their customers…would be suspended.
Lamping just isn’t ready to give up on the dream of kicking a whole bunch of people off health insurance. Shutting down the government didn’t work. Holding the Senate hostage didn’t work. Eleventy-billion irrelevant votes to repeal didn’t work. But by-gawd, Lamping is smarter than everybody! He’s got this shizzle all figured out.
The bill would suspend insurance companies’ state licenses if they accepted subsidies offered by the federal government to help pay health insurance premiums for low- and middle-income Missourians.
Lamping contends the subsidies are illegal and eventually will be thrown out by a federal court. By rejecting them, he said, Missouri could remove the trigger in the federal law that, beginning in 2015, will assess penalties against large employers that don’t provide health insurance.
“This is a legislative way by which the state actually could push back” against the law, Lamping said.
Critics of Lamping’s plan say that the Affordable Care Act is helping people obtain health insurance and that it’s time to stop fighting it. The bill would “just throw a wrench in the whole situation, slow everything down,” said Sen. Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors.
The insurance industry is watching the bill closely.
“We’re kinda caught in the middle,” said Brent Butler, government affairs director for the Missouri Insurance Coalition. “We’ve spent three years since the adoption of the Affordable Care Act informing everybody of the changes that will happen in the marketplace. This might add more questions than answers.”
Never fear! Lamping’s here! He will save you from the scourge of health insurance by shutting down companies that try to comply with the federal law! They won’t be doing business in Missouri if the comply with the dastardly Obamacare!
The federal law provides subsidies for people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, or $78,120 for a family of three.
In Missouri, two companies are participating in the exchange: Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is operated by Wellpoint, and Coventry Health Care Inc., which was acquired by Aetna last year.
Lamping said he got the idea for his bill suspending the insurers’ licenses from Michael Cannon, a health policy scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington.
Cannon traveled the country, encouraging states not to set up insurance exchanges. He argued that employers would have a solid legal foundation to contest any penalties in states with federally run exchanges.
The strategy is based on a contention that the Affordable Care Act allows the federal government to give out health insurance premium subsidies only if the insurance exchange is run by the state.
Several lawsuits advance that argument, including Halbig vs. Sebelius, which is pending in federal district court in the District of Columbia. It cites a section of the law that says subsidies apply to policies purchased “through an exchange established by the state.”
The act’s defenders say Congress intended the subsidies to apply to all qualified people and the lawsuits take provisions out of context. Any drafting errors can be fixed by regulation, the law’s supporters say.
Lamping said Missourians have made their distaste for the law clear, and he is trying to put teeth into Missouri’s resistance to its provisions.
“Clearly, in Missouri, there’s a very strong sense that they don’t want this law,” he said.
You know how I say it’s hard to be from here sometimes? This is the sort of stupid shit I mean. Lamping is a Tenth Amendment wingnut (he should give the Ninth Amendment a read some time) who still insists the law is unconstitutional, even tho it’s been upheld be the Supreme Court. People have been gulled by liars and ideologues and Fox News and Rush Limbaugh into thinking they don’t want the law, but when asked about the individual provisions of the law – hell, when asked if they prefer the ACA or Obamacare – the ACA and the individual elements of the law are popular. People like the idea of kids being able to stay on their parents insurance through Law, Medical or Dental school. They like the idea of their sister with a pre-existing condition being able to buy insurance at an affordable rate. They like the idea of subsidies to help them pay the premium. They understand that all the stuff they like depends on the mandate, everyone in.
Lamping makes a fatal error…his hubris is his downfall. He thinks that the people outstate are stupid, and they’re not. They voted the way the republicans wanted them to in a couple of low-turnout primaries that had the questions about the ACA on the ballot. I voted on the losing side of both those issues, and can attest to the fact that the ballot language was leading and the powers-that-be on the GOP side of things in this state simply operated on the assumption that the law would be struck down as unconstitutional; and in the year-and-a-half since it was upheld by the Supreme Court, they haven’t been able to switch gears and accept the law as valid, legal, and constitutional. So they are left to snap and snarl like zombies…this is a “bad law” that is “unconstitutional” and they refuse to accept the ruling of a Republican-majority Supreme Court.
Now let’s get real – Lamping’s bill isn’t going anywhere. This post is more tossing the toad in the air and whacking it with a Louisville Slugger, except I would never do that for real, only metaphorically and only to a republican asshat who richly deserves every ounce of derision and scorn I can muster. I loathe scum like Lamping with every fiber of my being and can’t imagine what it must feel like to be so empty inside, so bereft of humanity and kindness, so meanspirited, venal and utterly contemptible, so vapid, insipid, petty and trite. He is what I’m talking about when I say that the “war on poverty” has shifter and morphed to a war on poor people. It is being waged by willing conspirators like Lamping. In another time and place, he would surely have been a Capo.
But like I said, this is going nowhere, except in our file of stuff to use against the neoconfederates next election cycle. The Governor is a Democrat with a veto-proof General Assembly, so even if this bill miraculously got a committee hearing, made it out of committee, made it through the Senate, went to the General Assembly, made it through the committee process and onto the floor and passed the House, Governor Nixon would veto it and the Republicans lack the votes to override, and that is presuming a suspension of the supremacy clause, which says federal law supercedes state law – even in Missouri.