Wednesday, July 27, 2011

See no, hear no, speak no political stunts in KY

A perfect example of what is wrong with Frankfort presented itself this afternoon when Gov. Steve Beshear put out a press release proclaiming that he put $121 million in the state's rainy day fund.

Beshear actually does well with this if you see it for what it is. He is a politician running for office, trying to get a positive news story and no tough questions. The Lexington Herald Leader picks up the assist.

The rest of us are supposed to pretend not to remember the $166 million in Medicaid funds "borrowed" from 2012 three months ago. And of course he will get away with it politically because his Republican opponent voted for the same nonsense.

That's bad enough, but we are also supposed to ignore the state debt this money would be much more properly applied to than to use it for political stunts like this. Again, his Republican opponent voted the same way.

And this $121 million could be dropped into the deep dark hole of unfunded public employee benefits without even making a sucking sound as it disappeared into the abyss. But because there are no political points to score between establishment politicians, the big media sees no story.

Friday, July 22, 2011

More than one mandate to kill

One element of the federal debt limit debate seems to be turning to a Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare's requirement that all people buy health insurance.

The so-called "individual mandate," though, isn't the worst part of ObamaCare. And pulling it out by itself leaves the worst part to wreck healthcare in America even faster.

The worst part of ObamaCare is the requirement that health insurance companies provide coverage to all applicants without regard for pre-existing health conditions. This provision removes market forces from health insurance and leaves the only remaining issue as whether premium payments come directly from consumers or from the government. As costs continue to spiral upward, more consumers will be unable to pay and Medicaid will get bigger and bigger.

Removing only the individual mandate will just make that devolution occur faster because younger and healthier people will avoid the whole mess and self-insure. That leaves older and sicker people to drive up costs faster in the government-controlled plan, destroying what's left of the insurance market and leaving it all to bureaucrats.

The solution to ObamaCare is to get government out of healthcare as much as possible. But trying to piecemeal our way out of ObamaCare could make us worse off than ever.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One way to solve debt standoff

There were rumors this afternoon that the White House and Senate had worked out a budget deal with spending cuts and without tax increases (and a fun-to-watch left-wing panic attack).

The White House denies it now. Seems like we could easily dispense with all this tax loophole stuff by simply repealing all income taxes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Other states should follow Kentucky on this

We don't yet know how the federal debt ceiling debate will be resolved, but we can tell how poorly it has gone on the state level. That's because the debate has never happened here. It's time that changed.

The debt accumulated over the past decade by Frankfort politicians in both political parties has been staggering -- more than forty billion dollars.

We already can't afford the debt we have. I offer as proof the $30 million Kentuckians lost last month in a bond market scheme rolling over debt and making our budget appear balanced. If we could afford to make bond payments and balance our budget, there would be no need to give tens of millions of dollars to New York bankers and lawyers to paper over the mess we have made of our state finances.

The right thing to do in Washington D.C. is to strengthen our federal debt limit by adding a balanced budget requirement. The right thing to do in Frankfort is to strengthen our balanced budget requirement by adding to it a state debt ceiling. We can't afford to let our politicians drive us deeper into debt and we must be at least as diligent in Frankfort as we are in Washington.

Please join friends and fellow Kentuckians at the Scott County Courthouse in Georgetown at 7pm ET on August 2 to learn more about this issue and what we can do about it. Please help by spreading this invitation as widely as you can. Thank you for all that you do to make Kentucky a better place for our families.


David Adams
Executive Director
Kentucky Knows Best PAC

Friday, July 15, 2011

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Starting Kentucky debt ceiling conversation

Kentucky needs its own debt ceiling; there can be no question about that. Frankfort politicians in both parties have been too eager to hide their overspending in financing games with bonds and by failing to properly fund public employee retirement benefits.

The damage currently amounts to more than $40 billion dollars, nearly all of it accumulated in the last decade. Stopping Frankfort politicians from making it any worse is something nearly all of us should be able to agree on.

The solution involves defining "debt" and crafting legislation to get a handle on the spending process in Frankfort.

Do we want to require full funding of retirement benefits each year?

How do we define debt?

Who can we get to sponsor a Kentucky Debt Ceiling bill?

Do we have the political will to force establishment politicians in both parties to voluntarily limit their political spending appetites?

Will there ever be a better time than right now to start this initiative?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beshear upsets everyone on ObamaCare

The strange sight of Kentucky's effort to escape the ravages of ObamaCare without appearing to do so continues during the public comment phase of our request for an ObamaCare waiver.

So far, Kentucky Voices for Health, Kentucky Equal Justice Center and Consumer Watchdog have combined to criticize the Beshear Administration's complaint with ObamaCare, contradict the evidence in the state's petition for waiver and even to suggest that Beshear is lying to get out of complying with federal law. Surely there will be more of these letters made available as the Obama Administration gets closer to ruling on Kentucky's request.

It's amazing no one is getting Beshear on the record about this as he is angering the extreme left for not hungrily lapping up his ObamaCare soup while disappointing the rest of us for not doing enough to show that many Democrats realize what a mess this is going to be.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is Kentucky Pro-ObamaCare or not?

The federal government rolled out proposed regulations for ObamaCare's state health insurance exchanges yesterday, leaving Kentuckians with some interesting questions to ponder.

First of all, do we want ObamaCare or not?

Several states have been slow to embrace any part of ObamaCare or are actively fighting it. Some have even gone so far as to refuse federal money earmarked for setting up the bureaucratic infrastructure to facilitate the "Affordable Care Act."

Kentucky has not passed enabling legislation to set up a health insurance exchange, but has sent a major mixed signal by accepting federal exchange grant money, throwing it in the bipartisan state budget and spending it anyway.

The Beshear Administration is expected to gain approval within a few weeks to temporarily avoid a relatively inconsequential mandate in ObamaCare. At that point if not sooner, Beshear should have to explain why he didn't seek a broader waiver.

Frankfort politicians of both parties took the money Obama sent and they spent it. They really should have to explain why.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Kentucky media still missing ObamaCare story

Another development in Kentucky's uneasy political tapdance around ObamaCare today highlights the continued failure of state mainstream media to cover a very important story state Democrats would prefer not to talk about.

The federal Department of Health & Human Services notified Kentucky's Insurance Commissioner today that we will have a decision on Kentucky's request for an ObamaCare waiver within thirty days.

Kentucky has asked for a temporary exemption from a small part of ObamaCare's effort to control healthcare prices. While still publicly supporting ObamaCare, the Beshear administration has referenced Kentucky's failed price-fixing efforts in the health care market which destroyed our health insurance market two decades ago, despite the unmistakable similarities between that state legislation and ObamaCare.

It's pretty hard to overlook the fact that ObamaCare supporters in Kentucky have even less desire to talk about what requiring health insurance companies to cover all applicants does to consumers, but state reporters seem to be giving it a pretty good try as well.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Kentucky makes another short list

Twenty six states' attorneys general have joined legal efforts to stop Obamacare and ten states have signed on in support of it. Kentucky's cartoonish AG Jack Conway is part of a Fearful Fourteen group of AGs avoiding a clear position on the issue. Conway's opponent in November is Todd P'pool, who strongly opposes Obamacare.

Friday, July 08, 2011

End taxpayer funded primary elections now

You don't often hear complaints in Kentucky about public financing of political party primary elections, despite the millions of dollars in costs each year directly associated with them. That's largely because most people don't think about it, but also because most voters belong to one of the two major parties and would consider themselves beneficiaries of the status quo, if they thought of it at all.

That's no reason to keep doing it. Democrats and Republicans in Frankfort have combined to rig ballot access laws to protect their duopoly. And most of them would be just as happy to continue socializing their candidate selection costs as well. This setup has benefited the Republican Party in adding additional voices to public policy debates in a Kentucky once totally dominated by Democrats, but any analysis of the nearly unanimous voting in favor of recently passed, disastrously constructed state budgets suggests further action is needed to end suppression of more voices in the state.

Political duopoly isn't working in Kentucky and we can help improve the situation quickly by improving ballot access laws to remove the artificial benefits enshrined in statute for the sole purpose of boosting the major parties. Then we can stop making independently registered voters pay for political primaries. It's not just a matter of fairness for those left out of the process in May. It will very likely lead to better public engagement on the issues and better choices for all of us in November.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Take debt ceiling fight to the states

The federal debt ceiling has been raised 74 times since 1962. I'm sure someone at this very moment is whining that the Tea Party was silent each time Congress took it up, but the point that is that we certainly aren't being silent now. What was once a quiet vote without debate now has Washington D.C. tied up in knots.

It is time to take that fight to the state level.

Frankfort officials very quietly blew $30 million dollars two weeks ago on bond market shenanigans designed to make Kentucky's state budget appear balanced. You have heard absolutely nothing about this in the mainstream media even though state-level waste should be a greater concern to us because Frankfort can't just print up more money.

Now is a great time to draw attention to the need to tie Kentucky politicians hands to keep them from plunging us even further into debt. They will say that the bond market and the ratings agencies keep them from borrowing too much, but we have been down that road before. Lots of people are talking about the federal debt ceiling now and that should continue at least for the next several weeks. Let's take advantage of that to encourage our friends in Kentucky to contact their state representatives and tell them to set a limit on how much the state can borrow.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Aetna bails, Beshear wails

A frantic letter from Governor Steve Beshear's Insurance Commissioner to the Obama Administration today paints a clearer picture of how ObamaCare stands to hurt Kentucky.

In the letter, Commissioner Sharon Clark states that Aetna, the nation's third-largest health insurer is pulling out of Kentucky's individual and small group health insurance markets immediately. ObamaCare is the reason for their departure, which makes Kentucky's health insurance market even less stable and less competitive since Congress passed the new law.

Clark wrote: "Kentucky's individual marketplace remains fragile and in recovery after a previous health reform efforts (sic) in the 1990s. Given Aetna's intentions, the Commonwealth of Kentucky remains concerned that insurers exiting the market may cause an unsustainable influx of individuals into Kentucky Access, Kentucky's high risk pool. With the current budgetary environment, the effect of a large increase in membership into Kentucky Access that may occur with an additional carrier exiting the market could be extremely detrimental to the pool."

In other words, Kentucky is still trying to get over our flirtation two decades ago with HillaryCare. This is our own Democratic Governor starting to realize that Obama's health fiasco will hurt Kentucky. Please keep spreading the word about bad policies like ObamaCare. When even elected Democrats are getting the message, it's clear the Tea Party movement is having a major impact.