No, we’d mourn for the victims of a heart attack or stroke, or victims of car accidents who couldn’t get appropriate medical care in a timely manner because a self-satisfied insufferable prick couldn’t be bothered to care about others around him during a global pandemic.
It looks like one more year will come and go with no Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Why won’t the Republican fools in Jefferson City do what’s right when it comes to Medicaid? Temper tantrums because the GOP doesn’t like the scary black man in the white house and want to scuttle his legacy? Sure. Pandering to special interests who don’t want to pay their fair share? Of course. Efforts to insure failure of government run social programs that would otherwise deflect power from the GOP? That too. And there’s certainly plenty of delusional thinking, not to mention the ugly, retrograde political ideologies that have resurfaced in recent years.
Martin Longman speculates that the tantrum over Obamacare has extended so long and has been played out so passionately and so irrationally that there’s no way now for the committed GOP to retreat:
What’s interesting is that the Republicans’ are so dependent on ObamaCare being unpopular that they have to try to convince people it is failing even though it certainly is not. It’s not enough to point at polls about the law because those polls will change over time. They have to try to keep the polls low any way they can. One way to do that is to keep the myth alive among their base. Another way is to misinform as many people outside their circle as possible. Finally, they can work the refs in the media to the best of their ability, but that isn’t going to work anymore for media that aren’t formally or informally working for the Republican Party.
All undoubtedly true. But what this GOP miscalculation means in practical terms for Missouri is that no matter how empty their opposition is shown to be, the hardcore deadenders that populate many of the GOP seats in the Jefferson City will fight until their last breath against Obamacare, so, since Medicaid expansion under the program would be a big win, it can’t be allowed.
This irrational animus is the sole reason why state Senator John Lamping (R-19), when confronted with efforts from those in his own party to find a way to take a good deal without losing face, insisted no way, “this is done. It’s not happening. Go find something else to do.” It’s why state Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-19) thinks an opportunity to do something to help his constituents is a “problem,” whining about “why is this somehow now our problem, and our immediate problem that has to be solved by us before the end of the session, when we didn’t create this problem?” It’s kind of like having a meltdown when you win the lottery because you’re too stupid to figure out how to claim the prize.
But reality’s a bitch and, as they say, what goes round comes round, so sooner or later reality will catch up with the particular butt-end of the GOP that is now running the Republican show. Small solace though, since meanwhile, Missouri, currently ranked 39th in the nation for health outcomes, will continue to hover around the bottom, and, what’s even worse, people will actually, needlessly, die just so a few Republican diehards can save face and can continue to insist for a few more years that Obamacare really is a harbringer of Armageddon.
Representative Jill Schupp (D) on the House floor in Jefferson City – January 8, 2014.
Representative Jill Schupp (D), 88th Legislative District, representing most of Creve Coeur and Olivette, and parts of Ladue, Frontenac, Town & Country and Chesterfield, is a candidate for the 24th Senate District seat currently held by John Lamping (r). The 24th Senate District encompasses part of St. Louis County. The fourth quarter 2013 campaign finance reports have been filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
The overall numbers, first, for Jill Schupp (D):
C131081: Schupp For Senate
418 North Mosley Road Committee Type: Candidate
Creve Coeur Mo 63141 Party Affiliation: Democrat
[….] Established Date: 06/03/2013
Information Reported On: 2014 – January Quarterly Report
Beginning Money on Hand $177,583.38
Monetary Receipts + $103,154.00
Monetary Expenditures – $18,235.24
Contributions Made – $0.00
Other Disbursements – $1,300.00
Ending Money On Hand $261,202.14
That’s a healthy fundraising quarter. And a healthy cash on hand.
The overall numbers for John Lamping (r), the incumbent:
C091263: Lamping For Senate
#2 Warson Hills Committee Type: Candidate
St Louis Mo 63124 Party Affiliation: Republican
[….] Established Date: 10/27/2009
Information Reported On: 2014 – January Quarterly Report
Beginning Money on Hand $7,790.94
Monetary Receipts + $3,000.00
Monetary Expenditures – $463.23
Contributions Made – $450.00
Other Disbursements – $0.00
Ending Money On Hand $9,877.71
Okay, he’s definitely not running for reelection. Not with numbers like that.
So, at this point Representative Jill Schupp (D) has amassed a significant amount of resources for her senate campaign. No other republican has openly declared their candidacy.
Some of the details in Representative Schupp’s campaign finance report:
By now you’ve probably read lots about State Rep. John Lamping’s (R-24) lame attempt to launch the latest Missouri Republican attack on Obamacare. If you haven’t, you’ll find a good description of the bill and the issues it involves in this write-up by Gloria Bilchik at Occasional Planet, while Blue Girl here at SMPputs Lamping’s legislative chops into perfect perspective – as in “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”. I’m pretty sure she disapproves.
Blue Girl also acknowledges something else we all know which is that this exercise in radical rightwingery hasn’t a ghost of a chance of passing in even our GOP-heavy legislature – there are actually a few constitutional realists among the GOP crazies in Jefferson City – or being signed by our reasonably sane Democratic Governor should the unthinkable occur. And the case against the legislation’s viability was further bolstered by a judicial decision handed down today by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Lamping’s bill, SB546 (and companion House legislation introduced by Rep. Keith Frederick (R-121), HB1314), was inspired by the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon, who has encouraged lawsuits arguing based on the argument that the subsidies offered to low and middle income Americans on the federal exchange violate the law as it is written. As Ezra Klein notes:
The dispute settles around a single sentence: The Affordable Care Act’s defining a health insurance exchange, in Section 1311, as a “governmental agency or nonprofit entity that is established by a state.” Since the law says subsidies only go to people buying insurance “through an Exchange established by the State under 1311,” Cannon and some others argue that the federal exchanges, though specifically envisioned in the law, can’t receive subsidies.
Today’s verdict is the first to come down and it, tellingly, doesn’t endorse Cannon’s logic:
Judge Paul L. Friedman called that argument “unpersuasive,” saying it didn’t pass legal muster and ran counter to the central purpose of the Affordable Care Act.
“Plaintiffs’ proposed construction in this case – that tax credits are available only for those purchasing insurance from state-run Exchanges – runs counter to this central purpose of the ACA: to provide affordable health care to virtually all Americans,” Friedman wrote in a 39-page decision. “Such an interpretation would violate the basic rule of statutory construction that a court must interpret a statute in light of its history and purpose.”
His reasoning? The federal exchanges — which the Obama administration is constructing for 34 states that declined to build their own — “would have no customers, and no purpose” if the challengers’ logic were adopted.
Of course, this is just the first verdict in one of several lawsuits, but it doesn’t look too good for folks who think they’ve found the perfect, last-ditch, anti-Obamacare wriggle.
What this means in practical terms for Missouri progressives, as far as I’m concerned, is that John Lamping has given the state’s Democrats a big, fat, no-risk gift right before the mid-term elections. While Blue Girl notes that SB546 is “going nowhere, except in our file of stuff to use against the neoconfederates next election cycle,” we shouldn’t underestimate the good we can do with that file or just how potent this particular bit of GOP chicanery could prove to be when it comes to next fall’s elections.
At the end of December 33,138 Missourians or 5.04% of the estimated eligible population had enrolled in private plans through the federal Website, Healthcare.gov. That number will undoubtedly grow massively in the next three months – in spite of statewide GOP efforts at obstruction – and, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted about earlier numbers, many of these new enrollees will also be eligible for the subsidies that Lamping says he wants to take away.
Lamping must think he’s got a winner here, but if I were one of those folks getting acquainted with Obamacare via my first-time healthcare coverage and finally learning how empty the last three-years of GOP scare-tactics were, I wouldn’t feel too friendly toward jerks who were trying to make sure that I couldn’t afford to pay for it. It could be a relatively short jump from John Lamping to the entire Missouri GOP – particularly in view of their past, desperate anti-Obamacare rhetoric. We’ve just got to get the word out about who it is who doesn’t care if Missourians live or die.
3rd paragraph edited slightly for clarity: (see striken test), and for accuracy: “federal” added before exchange.
A tenther anti-Obamacare bill has been prefiled in the Missouri Senate:
“…The power to require or regulate a person’s choice in the mode of securing health care services, or to impose a penalty related thereto, is not found in the Constitution of the United States of America, and is therefore a power reserved to the people pursuant to the Ninth Amendment, and to the several states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment. The state of Missouri hereby exercises its sovereign power to declare the public policy of the state of Missouri regarding the right of all persons residing in this state in choosing the mode of securing health care services…”
Uh, the United States Supreme Court has already weighed in on this.
SB 546 Modifies Missouri’ Health Care Freedom Act by prohibiting the state from implementing a health insurance exchange, prohibiting insurers from accepting remuneration that may result in penalties violative of the act, and prescribing duties of the Attorney General for enforceme
LR Number: 4499S.01I Fiscal Note not available
Last Action: 12/1/2013 – Prefiled
Current Bill Summary
SB 546 – This act modifies what is commonly known as the Health Care Freedom Act which was approved by the Missouri voters in 2010. The act restates Missouri’s public policy of allowing its citizens the freedom to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without facing a penalty and provides that it is against Missouri public policy to implement or operate a health insurance exchange in Missouri. The act also posits several findings of fact of how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and implementing a state-based exchange would subject Missouri citizens and employers to penalties. The act further provides that if a health insurance issuer operating in Missouri accepts any remuneration that may result in the imposition of penalties contrary to Missouri’s public policy, then the Director of Insurance shall suspend the issuer’s license to transact business in Missouri. The suspension will stay in place until the issuer represents that it has returned the remuneration to its source and will decline any such future remuneration. The act further imposes a duty upon the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief and other appropriate remedies whenever the public policy set forth in the act is being violated.
This act is identical to SB 473 (2013).
Yes, yes, we can already tell that the 2014 regular session is going to be the most productive in Missouri history.
Representative Jill Schupp (D), 88th Legislative District, representing most of Creve Coeur and Olivette, and parts of Ladue, Frontenac, Town & Country and Chesterfield, is a candidate for the 24th Senate District seat currently held by John Lamping (r). The 24th Senate District encompasses part [pdf] of St. Louis County. The third quarter 2013 campaign finance reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission paint an interesting picture.
Representative Jill Schupp (D), candidate in the 24th Senate District. [file photo]
The overall numbers, first, for John Lamping (r), the incumbent:
Missouri educators, along with those in 45 other states, have officially adopted the Common Core, a set of educational standards for the study of English and mathematics. It was developed by organizations like the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers with input from “teachers, parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders.” The purpose? To develop a tool for educators:
High standards that are consistent across states provide teachers, parents, and students with a set of clear expectations that are aligned to the expectations in college and careers. The standards promote equity by ensuring all students, no matter where they live, are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to collaborate and compete with their peers in the United States and abroad.. Unlike previous state standards, which were unique to every state in the country, the Common Core State Standards enable collaboration between states on a range of tools and policies, …
So keep in mind that these standards reflect input from individuals from all fifty states. They are no more than benchmarks to help educators develop curriculum in areas in which many states are currently failing to teach effectively, and implementation is left to the states.
But, whoa! That’s apparently a little too much for the intrepid (not to say paranoid) members of the Missouri GOP. Republican Senator John Lamping, along with some other members of his political sodality, want to, in the words of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “put the brakes” on the adoption of the Common Core and have introduced legislation to do just that. They’re worried about lack of legislative oversight, claim to be worried about loss of “parental control,” and, wouldn’t you know, are beating their little tin drums about the expense of the required computer-based assessment – a curious concern from lawmakers who otherwise think that the state can afford to cut taxes for corporations and high earners.
And just what does the legislative oversight that these GOPers value so highly look like? Consider legislation introduced by GOP pack member, Rep. Rick Brattin, which would “require that the state’s elementary and secondary school students, and even people taking college courses in public universities, learn about creationism in addition to real biology.” Noted in Mother Jones by Dana Liebelson:
HB 291, the “Missouri Standard Science Act,” redefines a few things you thought you already knew about science. For example, a “hypothesis” is redefined as something that reflects a “minority of scientific opinion and is “philosophically unpopular.” A scientific theory is “an inferred explanation…whose components are data, logic and faith-based philosophy.” And “destiny” is not something that $5 fortune tellers believe in; Instead, it’s “the events and processes that define the future of the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, earth, plant life, animal life, and the human race.”
The bill requires that Missouri elementary and secondary schools-and even introductory science classes in public universities-give equal textbook space to both evolution and intelligent design (any other “theories of origin” are allowed to be taught as well, so pick your favorite creation myth-I’m partial to the Russian raven spirit.) “I can’t imagine any mainstream textbook publisher would comply with this,” Meikle says. “The material doesn’t exist.”
While HB 291 may be the worst of this stupidity, it isn’t the entirety; another bill, HB179, constitutes a somewhat subtler attack on good science education, but with the same goal: to get intelligent design into the schools. Creationism and intelligent design may be okay for churches which depend on faith to inspire belief and for home-schoolers who aren’t held to very rigorous standards, but it isn’t science. As Daniel Luzer observes, intelligent design is no more than “a form of creationism dreamed up by the politically reactionary Discovery Institute in order to get around prohibitions against the teaching of religious doctrine in public schools.”
If this sort of lame-brained “oversight” is what we can expect from our legislators, I say give us a big helping of the Common Core, the sooner the better.
SB 722 Bars entities that invest in the energy sector in Iran from contracting with the state and political subdivisions
LR Number: 5353S.03I Fiscal Note not available
Last Action: 1/31/2012 – S First Read–SB 722-Lamping Journal Page:
Title: Calendar Position: 97
Effective Date: August 28, 2012
Current Bill Summary
SB 722 – This act creates the “Iran Energy Divestment Act” which bars entities that invest in the energy sector in Iran from contracting with the state and political subdivisions. Entities wishing to make public contracts shall certify that they are not investors in the energy sector in Iran. Entities that falsely certify shall be subject to a penalty equal to the greater of $250,000 or twice the amount of the contract. In addition, contracts may be terminated by the awarding body and the entity shall be ineligible to bid on and enter into such contracts for three years.
It’s all in how you define things. From the bill [pdf]:
…(2) “Energy sector”, activities to develop petroleum or natural gas resources or nuclear power….
It appears that a few things were left out. Batteries maybe?
It would be interesting to see the effect of channeling public investment in the United States into wind power technology rather than petroleum and nuclear.