An attempted end-around on national health-care reform was eerily reminiscent of a stunt that plunged Kansas deep into debt.
Last week, Republicans in the U.S. Senate desperate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), sought a scaled-back approach dubbed “skinny repeal.”
Few details were revealed, by design. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office did determine the bill would leave 16 million more Americans uninsured, and drive up premium costs.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., rightly voted “no.” He knew Republican leaders wanted the bill to pass the Senate and be quickly rubber-stamped in the U.S. House without due deliberation.
Kansas, unfortunately, knows the painful fallout of such a self-serving move.
In 2012, Gov. Sam Brownback deliberately misled then-Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, in pushing an economic stimulus strategy of massive income-tax cuts coveted by the Koch brothers and fellow ultraconservatives.
Brownback pleaded with Morris, a moderate, to reverse a Senate vote blocking the tax policy to let House and Senate negotiators hammer out something better — a relatively common occurrence.
Morris obliged. A responsible legislator, he couldn’t fathom the recklessness that would ensue.
Then-House Speaker Mike O’Neal, in cahoots with Brownback and the Kochs, pushed through the radical tax-cut plan, unaltered — even though all involved knew the dramatic loss of revenue would wreck the state budget.
As a result, Kansas will be digging out of the hole for years to come.
The recent attempt to ram through a destructive health-care bill to score a political win, regardless of the harm, mirrored what happened in Kansas.
Yet Kansas’ U.S. senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts went along — no doubt at the Kochs’ behest — even though many Kansans would be hurt.
McCain, meanwhile, proposed the proper approach: “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” he said.
The nation does indeed need bipartisan, open discourse on such a significant issue — something Kansans were denied by Brownback and his band of hack politicians.