The Garden City Telegram
4/11/2014
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Koch aid — More hypocrisy as company bellies up to ACA trough

The Koch brothers did their best to link select Kansas lawmakers to controversial Obamacare as a way to torpedo their campaigns.

Several state lawmakers — namely traditional, more moderate Republicans who wouldn't serve as puppets for a far-right agenda coveted by Gov. Sam Brownback and other Koch allies — were targeted in the August 2012 GOP primary,

The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and Kansas Chamber unleashed last-minute, misleading ads designed to take down lawmakers who dared to challenge their radical pursuits.

Unfortunately, many voters fell for the outlandish claims that lawmakers who were targeted somehow supported the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. It was bunk, of course, as those singled out had nothing to do with the federal law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As if that wasn't enough, the Koch-AFP-Kansas Chamber camp recently dredged up Obamacare again in calling for repeal of Kansas' Renewable Portfolio Standard.

While it clearly was another absurd claim, they argued the RPS was just another costly mandate. Yet the chief critic — giant oil-and-gas conglomerate Koch Industries — has long reaped the benefit of taxpayer subsidies involving energy production, among other government-related deals.

And now it appears Obamacare wasn't such a problem after all for Koch Industries, as the company benefited from the same health-care reform the Kochs say they detest.

Koch Industries reportedly was among big corporations that reaped millions of dollars from the Affordable Care Act, even as the Kochs continued to support GOP candidates who have vowed to work on repeal of the law.

Federal records show Koch Industries benefited from a temporary provision of the health-care law in an Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, which helped the company pay health insurance costs for retirees not covered by Medicare. The records show Koch Industries applied for and received $1.4 million in early retiree subsidies.

So, an Affordable Care Act in place to help the uninsured, seniors and young adults with coverage also has something in it for large businesses. The Kochs, like others, took advantage.

Kansans should keep such hypocrisy in mind when the next Koch-financed onslaught of political advertising materializes.