Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 26, 2012

RONNIE ELLIS: Reading between the lines



Republican Sen. Mike Wilson of Bowling Green asked Banahan if the tax rebates for small employers who purchase health insurance for their employees wouldn’t reduce tax revenues to the government. It would for the federal government, Banahan answered.  Awful!

But that struck me as an odd thing for a Republican to say because it is Republican orthodoxy that the federal government takes in too much federal tax revenue. Can you imagine the idea of leaving “job creators” with more money so they can insure their workers or maybe even – as Democratic Rep. Jim Wayne suggested – hire additional workers?

Later during discussion of how the implementation of Medicaid managed care is working, Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, questioned Medicaid Commissioner Larry Kissner. In light of one of the managed care companies failing to make money from its contract to provide services to Medicaid patients in eastern Kentucky, Smith wanted to know what Kissner’s department is doing to make sure such companies don’t fail in the future.

Kissner more or less answered “nothing” – because the company submitted its own bid and signed a contract to deliver services at the contracted prices. It occurred to me that if state government did other than Kissner explained it would in effect be “picking winners and losers.” And as we know from Republicans, that’s not a good thing.

Now to be fair, the Republicans would argue they were simply trying to anticipate or identify “unintended consequences” of the new health care law. Some of their concerns are justifiable and understandable, although they sounded more like a partisan election argument.

But the exchange illustrates something I wish more politicians on both sides would acknowledge: practical reality sometimes gets in the way of pure orthodoxy.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.


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