I don't want to like you. You defeated my candidate, but that isn't why. I don't want to like you because of what you did several budget cycles ago, penning a secret Senate budget that came out with cuts in Medicaid for old, blind, disabled people so that wealthy people could get a tax cut.
It was immoral, and that is why I don't want to like you.
But, you're just making it too easy.....to not like you.
Another Senate budget has been unveiled after being hidden from scrutiny by the Senate leadership you and Senator Dalton represent. And, this time it is even worse than before. Really, it's worse. Because this time you are taking away funding for kid's health care. Health care for kids. You.Are.Taking.Away.Kid's.Health.Care.
Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand says the state doesn't have enough money to pay for Health Choice until the end of the year. The program provides health care for kids in families with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
It seems like a no-brainer to cover kids who are eligible for care now under Health Choice and not wait for Washington. And the money is there, whatever Rand and other Senate leaders say.
There is $2.7 million in the Senate budget for renovation of the polar exhibit at the zoo and another $4.3 million for an oyster hatchery, not to mention that the Senate recently decided to give wealthy people another tax break by voting to repeal the state gift tax, which will reduce state revenue by $18 million.
Depending on how you look at it, we either need $8 million, $13 million, or maybe $20 million to cover a whole slew of uninsured kids and actually be a leader on this issue.
Adam Searing says it is all gamesmanship and that it is a game that doesn't make sense (read the whole, coherent thing here).
...In this budget the honorable Senators eliminate all funding for NC's expanded sliding-scale premium child health insurance program for working parents...
Even worse, NC Senators, all of whom by the way have free – yes, that's right, they don't pay any premium – health care provided by the taxpayers through the NC Health Plan, propose in their budget to close NC Health Choice,...
"Too bad, mom and dad. We couldn't find the extra $8.3 million the House came up with, so we are shutting you out. Maybe next year." Or perhaps they should run for the NC Senate....
Now, the NC Senate is notorious for playing these sorts of silly games with health insurance coverage for kids. Put something outrageous in your proposed budget, get the public riled up, use it as a negotiating point. I understand political gamesmanship, but NC Democrats hurting children while they play like seven-year-olds trading for Pokémon cards seems a little much...
I can't understand why the debate in the Senate isn't over how many more kids we could help with affordable health coverage. For $13 million more in state money in addition to the $7 million allocated last year, we could thumb our noses at the federal government and start NC Kids Care immediately.
Finally, what the heck is the political calculation here? Will NC Senator Kay Hagan, currently running against US Senator Elizabeth Dole, vote for this budget? Health insurance for kids is one of her signature issues against Dole and she's going to give that up just when it looks like she might have a chance of winning?
...Why are we even having this debate? Nationally, Democrats and a large section of moderate Republicans are united around efforts to expand health insurance to more children. Why is the NC Senate running against this trend with policies that look more like those coming out of the Bush administration? I guess back where they draft the budget there aren't very many people asking these sorts of hard questions.
An interesting side note, 170 elected House and Senate members each receiving ~$500/month in free premiums is about $1 million a year in "wasteful" government spending if you ask me. Their kids deserve health care because they work a low-paying job, but someone else's kid doesn't?
But, Senator Hagan, it doesn't stop there. You are infamous among Democrats for supporting telecom immunity, and we are supposed to accept that, because you're our nominee. Well, not good enough, and today's New York Times Editorial explains why.
More fundamental, Mr. Bush’s powers do not supersede laws passed by Congress or the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures...
That law expires on Aug. 3, and Mr. Bush is demanding even more power to spy. He also wants immunity for the telecommunications companies that provided the government with Americans’ private data without a warrant after Sept. 11.
Lawsuits against those companies are the best hope of finding out the extent of Mr. Bush’s lawless spying. But Democratic leaders in Congress are reported to have agreed to a phony compromise drafted by Senator Christopher Bond, the Republican vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee...
The new bill has other problems. It gives the government too much leeway to acquire communications in the United States without individual warrants or even a showing of probable cause. It greatly reduces judicial review, and it would remain in force for six years, which is too long...If any significant changes are going to be made, they should be made under the next president.
There are clear differences between the candidates. Senator John McCain, who is sounding more like Mr. Bush every day, believes the president has the power to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant.
Senator Barack Obama opposes immunity and voted against the temporary expansion of FISA. We hope he will show strong leadership this time. He might even take time off from the campaign to vote against the disturbing deal brewing in the back rooms of Congress.
This is the year for Hope, the year for Change, the year we stop doing things they way they used to be done and fight for an open and honest government that takes into account the needs of the people first and foremost.
What about you Senator Hagan?
Will you renounce a budget "that [looks] more like those coming out of the Bush administration" and vote against it?
Will you change your mind and put the rule of law and the Constitution above the Republican scare-tactics and declare that you are against telecom immunity?
Or, will you continue to make it hard for voters to tell the difference between you and Elizabeth Dole?