Archive for Friday, September 20, 2013

Kansas’ U.S. House delegation supports bill providing government funding but defunding health law

September 20, 2013


Kansas' all-Republican U.S. House delegation today supported the GOP plan that would provide stopgap funding to keep the government running but only if President Barack Obama's health care plan is defunded.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, whose district includes Lawrence, said the Affordable Care Act was hurting the economy and Kansans.

"While the President refuses to act, Kansans who are struggling to fight for themselves and their families in this weak economy have sent me to Washington to fight for them – to help make life a little easier for them. This is what I intend to do, and it starts with repealing and replacing the President’s health care law," Jenkins said.

The measure was approved in the Republican-controlled House 230-189 and now goes to the Senate where Democrats said it is dead on arrival. Even if it were to pass the Senate, President Obama said he would veto the bill.

Speaking at the Ford Motor plant in Claycomo, Mo., Obama defended the ACA, saying it would provide health coverage to millions of Americans who cannot afford it now.

He said House Republicans were jeopardizing the nation's economy by threatening to stop funding government and refusing to raise the debt ceiling if they can't de-fund the health reform law.

"They're focused on politics," Obama said. "They're focused on trying to mess with me, they're not focused on you," he said.

Margie Wakefield, a Democrat from Lawrence, who has announced that she will challenge Jenkins in 2014, said Jenkins' vote today "was a vote to shut down the government, pure and simple. It is past time for Congresswoman Jenkins to stop the political gamesmanship, stop standing in the way of solutions, and get to work passing a budget that will help businesses create jobs and protect Kansas families."

U.S. Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita and Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park also voted for the bill.


Catalano 4 years, 9 months ago

Ms. Jenkins:

Please provide info re: how not having health insurance will make life easier for me.

Please provide info re: what you would replace the ACA with that would benefit me. That I could afford.


One of your constituents

Catalano 4 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm. It sounded like she supported federal subsidies to buy insurance. But I'm not really sure, because she really doesn't sound like she knows what she's talking about.

lcarol 4 years, 9 months ago

If you will attend just one of her town hall meetings, you would get the answer to your question as to whether she knows what she is talking about. Scary folks, but she is all ours. Hopefully, the populous will take a fresh look at her representation in 2014.

arch007bak 4 years, 9 months ago

If only we had representatives (and voters for that matter) that understood the difference between mandatory spending and discretionary spending. Most, if not all, of the spending for the ACA is mandatory and cannot be defunded without a full repeal of the entire law, which is not what this vote, their 42nd, accomplished. Even the more level-headed conservatives in the Senate have been explaining that point. I'm not surprised at all that our representatives either don't get that or that they do and they've voted this way simply for political theater, which is probably more likely the case.

arch007bak 4 years, 9 months ago

I just heard another explanation of the 2 types of spending...

The majority of funding, but not all, comes from mandatory spending. That includes tax credits to aid in buying insurance, the exchanges, Medicaid expansion, the individual mandate among other items.

The parts included under discretionary spending mostly seem to involve personnel to manage certain portions, which is a small portion of the overall ACA compared to the items under mandatory spending. I believe that's all they were able to vote on defunding.

As some conservatives in the Senate have said along with several conservative commentators, this vote along the previous 41 seem to be yet another waste of time.

Centerville 4 years, 9 months ago

Praeger has announced that they won't be ready anyway. And that her 'exchange' only sells policies from two companies.
Anyone say FAIL?

Shelley Bock 4 years, 9 months ago

FAIL because Governor failed to accept monies intended to set up exchanges for Kansans, developed by Kansans. That FAIL is tattooed across Brownback's forehead.

Corey Williams 4 years, 9 months ago

"Gov. Sam Brownback reversed course Tuesday by declaring the state would return a $31.5 million federal grant intended to finance technology infrastructure to comply with elements of national health insurance reform."

lcarol 4 years, 9 months ago

How many people in this country go to a job everyday that they don't particularly like, but they go because they have to have health care for their families? I believe the Affordable Care Act is a boon to the spirit of this nation. Do you have an idea for a business you have always wanted to try but were afraid to leave the security of that job with healthcare? What happens if the security of a healthcare exchange let's you spread your wings? I believe the business community is shedding that long standing tradition of including healthcare as a part of their benefit package just as they replaced pension obligations with the 401K. They no longer have to do that and will gradually divest themselves of that responsibility but ultimately, I believe, the worker will have more bargaining power. You are free to leave and corporate America will be free to up your compensation to get you to stay. It won't happen over night but businesses have to have employees. This is what terrifies Republicans. If I were a Republican and truly believed the Affordable Care Act is such an abomination, step back and let it happen. Then you can say I told you so and win back the hearts of the nation. But they know as well as I know, affordable health care available to everyone is a win. I say we just sit back and watch the temper tantrums, let them turn blue in the face from holding their breath but the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and at the present time there is nothing they can do but blow up the whole country. Let's see how that works out for them.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 9 months ago

This could really turn into a game, if everyone wanted to play this way. What about defunding border patrol along the Mexican border? Or, defunding the low interest rates for businesses because of the Federal Reserve Board? Or, subsidies to corporate farms?

Steve Jacob 4 years, 9 months ago

Washington is so dysfunctional right now, the only guy not afraid to make a decision is Ben Bernanke, and he's out soon. Tell me what the government has done since 2010 mid term elections?

In_God_we_trust 4 years, 9 months ago

I fully support the house bill to fund the government and withhold funding from ACA or Obamacare. We need good law to replace Obamacare. The best way is to stop all funding and then replace it with good law. I fully support our Representatives concerning the house bill. Good job! Now it's up to the Senate to send it to the President for passage.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 9 months ago

What is 'good law to replace Obamacare'? Just asking. The Republicans haven't suggested any replacement.

In_God_we_trust 4 years, 9 months ago

Were you just as concerned about Obamacare? Or did you have to see it passed so you could see what is in it?

Republicans do have some ideas, but Obamacare must have funding stopped first, so a better replacement can be discussed with democrats.

hillsandtrees 4 years, 9 months ago

"Obamacare", as "Rommeycare", was a Republican idea - keeping money going to private insurance companies - continuing to increase the disparity between the 1% and the rest of us. Obama thought that by going to the Republican plan, it would get some Republican votes. He didn't realize just by indorsing an idea, the Republicans would be against it.

I would personally like to see a single payer system - remove the middle man - streamline the system - eliminate all the paper pushers that drive up the cost.

Doctors for a national health care system;

question4u 4 years, 9 months ago

"Now it's up to the Senate to send it to the President for passage."

What? Oh wait, you're in an antithetical universe. Yes, Mitt will definitely sign it and the God of that universe will bless it, since he hates anything that eases the suffering of the poor.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 9 months ago

Where's the "good law" that you speak of? When reasonable suggestions were offered by Republicans, they were accepted. In the end, Republicans still objected. Only Republican plan discussed was Ryan's "everyone a voucher" program, which has disappeared.

What are your specific problems with the law, IGWT? Or is it just that it was a Republican idea used by a Democratic President as the impetus for change. This law looks out for the individual American instead of the profits of the Health Care Insurance business.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

What's the point of defunding Obamacare? And revert back to the medical insurance industry that could deny coverage at will and/or simply cut clients off completely?

The Kansas delegation represents the ALEC Right Wing Party not the Republican Party. The ALEC Right Wing Party unfortunately has assassinated the once user friendly Republican Party.

These ALEC people sound like republicans on the campaign trail. However once elected they immediately get back to the ALEC Agenda.

United States of ALEC – Bill Moyers

ALEC – The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in State Legislatures

ALEC EXPOSED – The Koch Connection

ALEC – Ghostwriting The Law for Corporate America


ALEC Private Schools - Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting

OlDan 4 years, 9 months ago

According to polls aproximately 70% oppose Obamacare. The unions oppose Obamacare due to job losses. Hospitals are facing shortfalls in budgeting due to Obamacare. All hospitals are cutting back and laying off hospital personnel. Cleveland Clinic is the leading example having to trim $300 M and laying off thousands. Companies are laying off full time employees or cutting hours to avoid having to pay insurance costs due to Obamacare. Most all companies are restructuring their insurance benefits or giving their employees a sum of cash to buy insurance on the federal exchanges. Yes, Obamacare offers some benefits that are desirable to many, but at what cost? The CBO projections are clearly trending upward for Obamacare costs. It is now projected that Obamacare will cost 3 times more than the original CBO estimates in 2010. What will they say next year? Clearly, Obamacare will be a financial disaster for this country and the economy. I support the Republican efforts to defund this train wreck.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

The majority of Americans support Obamacare. They like that it eliminates so called pre existing conditions. The like that their kids can stay on their insurance until they're 26. They like that insurance companies must spend at least 80% of premiums on health claims not exorbitant salaries for company executives. Etc.

OlDan 4 years, 9 months ago

Your first statement is simply not true. Reference any poll you like. They all say the same thing. Obamacare is very unpopular. As I stated previously, there are things about Obamacare they like, but they remain decidedly against it.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

Everyone also hates taxes. But, guess what, nobody wants to stand in line for 5 hours to renew their drivers license. Everybody wants the pothole in front of their driveway patched. Everybody wants the police to show up when they're called. I'll concede that the vast majority of people will give a stupid answer to a question that is phrased in a slanted way. The key is everyone likes what Obamacare is even if they don't like the word Obamacare. Too much faux news...

OlDan 4 years, 9 months ago

Bad comparisons JF1985. Not the same things at all. Jobs are more important to Americans right now and guess what. Obamacare is eliminating thousands jobs while making part time employees out of others. Why does the left continue to force a bad health care law on the American people who obviously prefer not to participate?

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

What??? The rightwing aka bush administration and its policies caused the Great Recession. Thane the tea party undermined the Obama administrations efforts at economic recovery. The right wing cares nothing about jobs.

OlDan 4 years, 8 months ago

Obama and the left continue to blame Bush, Republicans, ATMs, Arab Spring, videos, rogue employees and just about anything and everyone else. After 5 years it's time for this President to put on his big boy pants and own up to the fact that his policies just aren't working.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 8 months ago

Obama cleaned up the mess bush made in his Huggies. Nobody is blaming bush. It's just a historical FACT.

OlDan 4 years, 8 months ago

Nobody is blaming Bush? I could have sworn you typed "The rightwing aka bush administration and its policies caused the Great Recession."

Carol Bowen 4 years, 9 months ago

Not all hospitals are facing shortfalls. Hospitals in the states that rejected Medicaid expansion are facing serious shortfalls. Kansas is one of those states that did not have an alternate plan when they rejected Medicaid expansion. States that are adopting Medicaid expansion will have cost savings in emergencies and unpaid bills.

JohnBrown 4 years, 9 months ago

"CLEARLY, Obamacare will be a financial disaster for this country and the economy. I support the Republican efforts to defund this train wreck." -0IDan.


Yes, IODan, the Republicans are just REALLY GOOD at predicting which policies grow economies.

Oh, wait. The auto industry is still functioning...and paying back the loans we made to them. Oh, wait, 3/4 of our national debt was piled up by Reagan, Bush and W. Oh, wait, Iraq hasn't used their oil revenues to pay for our invading them.

What's clear is that the Tea Party (I can't call them Republicans any more) is anti-O'Bama...regardless of what O'Bama is for. As Lynn Jenkins said, they "need a great white hope"



Cait McKnelly 4 years, 9 months ago

CLEARLY, if the Republicans don't get their way and refuse to raise the debt ceiling, they really WILL wreck the economy. For some reason, people don't see the real irony in this.

OlDan 4 years, 9 months ago

It's not about refusing to raise the debt ceiling. It's about Obama and Dems refusing to negotiate period.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 8 months ago

Not negotiating? ACA was negotiated with many, many amendments offered by Republicans. It was a Republican idea in the first place. How is it that Republican Tea Party radicals stake out a position that complete denial of funds is the only position they'll accept? The Administration has caved into their demands in the past and look where it has gotten them, to this stalemate. Cruz and his band of extremists won't accept anything more than 0% funding. No room to negotiate there.

So if negotiations is what you want, what's the compromise position that would be acceptable to you? See, there is none.

OlDan 4 years, 8 months ago

Then you would choose to shut down the government? That would be the other option and that would be a Democrat position. America does not want to shut down the government and they do not want to participate in Obamacare. The Rs are on the side of the people.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

Lynn Jenkins fights for the needy following the examples set by ghengis khan, Attila the Hun, Napoleon, and Cortez.

In_God_we_trust 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually the democrats in the Senate could stand with Americans to resolve this and help the country with the republicans by passing the House government funding bill on to the President and drop Obamacare. The fact that democrats and the President don't want to drop Obamacare, is what threatens the US not paying bills, not the republicans. The republicans want to fund the government so they can pay their bills. The President is the one that said he won't work with Congress (in particular the republicans) by dropping Obamacare; polls say that 70% of the people want Obamacare dropped. The President will bear the full blame, if he chooses to not pass government funding and drop Obamacare. The House with some democrats passed the government funding-Obamacare funding cut bill. Here is a refresher on how the disaster of Obamacare came to be:

"More than three years ago, Congress passed a massive health insurance law without one Republican vote and in the face of significant public opposition. This 2,700 page bill was rammed through Congress in the early morning hours on Christmas Eve. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even said Congress had to pass the bill so that we could find out what is in it. While the President promised the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would lower health care costs and strengthen our health care system, the reality is the law is increasing health insurance premiums, slowing economic recovery, and hindering job growth."

hillsandtrees 4 years, 9 months ago

The Economics of the Affordable Care Act By DAVID M. CUTLER

What is most clear is that the current health care system is failing families, businesses and governments. The Affordable Care Act is the most serious effort ever made to address the myriad flaws in health care today. If it works as intended, the health of our economy – as well as our people – will be much improved.

In_God_we_trust 4 years, 9 months ago

Unintended consequences; IBM and Home Depot are dumping their employees and retirees from company provided health care, into the health exchanges, because they can not afford health insurance under ACA for their employees. I agree that the previous system had flaws, but it didn't impact employers / employment and the economy negatively like the ACA is doing. Costs for healthcare will go down when there is less demand for health care. ACA increases demand for health care and the price is climbing higher and higher as a result, and I understand that the paperwork requirements are excessive. ACA needs to be dumped because it doesn't work, as most of it is not functional, and has unconstitutionally been delayed or altered by the President. (The President's job is to faithfully execute the laws, not change or modify them without Congress). This President has overstepped his authority. This is another reason that funding should be cut for ACA / Obamacare.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 9 months ago

Here's a link with a summary on most of the current Obamacare talking points above.

Let's try to stay away from conjecture. It doesn't help the discussion. By the way, two companies have announced an insurance voucher system for part time employees this week - Walgreens and Trader Joe's. And, another BTW, some health insurance companies already had the thirty hour rule. It's not new to Obamacare. Neither, are companies who try to avoid providing benefits. Not everything can be blamed on Obamacare.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 9 months ago

According to the PEW research graph attached, over half of the people who are opposed to Obamacare want the ACA fixed rather than repealed.

FarleyM 4 years, 9 months ago

People need healthcare. Obamacare is not about healthcare. It's about the money in insurance.

Obamacare is about the billions of dollars in the Insurance industry. The Government wants that money. They want control of it.

If Obamacare was about healthcare, Cleveland Clinic, and other medical facilities would not be firing people.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 8 months ago

Ohio rejected Medicaid expansion and defaulted to the federal insurance exchange, consequently their medical facilities will experience serious shortfalls just like Kansas. If you want to make a comparison, choose a state that has adopted Obamacare. Ohio, by the way, is still discussing medicaide expansion.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

What is there to fix? Anyone know?

There have been double digit increase years and years long before Obamacare was on the planet.

Blame the medical insurance industry. After all the industry owns 8 lobbyists per elected officials that walk around dropping millions upon millions into campaign cookie jars. That practice is abuse of health care dollars perhaps even fraudulent use of healthcare dollars.

Perhaps this needs to be fixed? Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid.

Three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care.

Can't trust the insurers.

"The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable -- publicly accountable -- health-care option," said Wendell Potter, who until early last year was vice president for corporate communications at the big insurer Cigna.

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story:

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

Congress Revise Medicare Then Open It Up To Taxpayers = it pays for itself

There are more than 50 million taxpayers who simply cannot afford the medical insurance industry. This industry is designed for the 1% no one else. Certainly not all of the 1% can appreciate the inflated premiums.

50 million new enrollees will more than pay for the Medicare Single Payer Insurance program. How? More than $1.4 trillion tax dollars flow into the industry annually. That is more money than is necessary to cover the cost of the Medicare Single Payer Insurance model on the table as we speak.

Leave the choice to the taxpayers knowing more than 50 million will want to sign up almost immediately. Thus the program cost is covered.

After all the more than $1.4 trillion tax dollars mentioned above belong to the taxpayers not elected officials. Medicare Single Payer Insurance is far more efficient use of my tax dollars so why procrastinate any further. This is one effort that would improve the nations economy and job market pronto.

Single-Payer (HR 676 and S 703) Expanded Medicare for All

Carol Bowen 4 years, 8 months ago

Small business coverage, tort reform, ... And, there was something not implemented because it wasn't affordable. The ACA is large and complicated. It's not perfect. We should not support the ACA blindly. It will take years to implement. Social security has been modified several times since its inception. The GOP antiObama stuff certainly doesn't help.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 8 months ago

Kansas Congressional delegation = proof that the inmates/patients in the asylum all share the same conspiracy theory. If Kansas wants to save money on the budget, can't we just phone the votes in? It's not like our members are adding anything to the debate, as with most of the GOP. And because they have no intention of passing actual legislation, just put up a giant "No" banner on the House floor and save the money staying home. In fact it will give them more time to raise money and campaign for 2014, since that's really their only intention.

David Albertson 4 years, 8 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the Amercan people reject the guy who ran on a platform of dismantling Obamacare? We had a choice last year. We voted to keep Obama and Obamacare.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

ALEC and Brownback believe any state law can supersede federal law unless ALEC Right Wing has control of the White House and congress.

ALEC Brownback does not believe people in Kansas should have access to a federal program no matter that the medical insurance industry receives more than $1.2 trillion federal tax dollars through the federal government.

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