Friday, February 26, 2016

Vidak is Right, Says "Hell No!" to MCO Tax

The liberal Fresno Bee faulted Republican state senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) for rejecting the MCO Tax scheme proposed by Governor Brown.

No taxes! None!

If Vidak has any reason to oppose this tax, it rests on the fact that he won a special and then a full general election as one more Republican to stop the tax-and-spendthrift state legislature.

He should be commended, not condemned, for stepping up and saying "Hell No!" to the MCO tax.

Here is the sham shame-editorial released by the Fresno Bee, with my comments.

Editorial: Andy Vidak is wrong to oppose vital health caretax bill

Andy Vidak, a Republican who represents the 14th state Senate District, the poorest in California, has branded himself an independent thinker who fights valiantly on behalf of his constituents.

The region will not get richer by making middle-class and working Californians poorer. 

But the Hanford lawmaker’s decision to oppose an important health-care tax bill that would restructure how the state taxes managed-care organizations so it complies with federal law suggests otherwise.

Why does the state of California have to restructure anything to get something from Washington DC? All of this wrong. The government, whether state or federal, should not be in the health care business. Period.

If California does not meet the federal mandate, it will lose $1.35 billion in federal health care funds. And there’s little doubt that if the bill does not receive the 27 votes it needs to pass the Senate, the negative impacts will reverberate throughout the 14th District, where poor residents already struggle to access health care.

How about not taking money from the American taxpayer in the first place?!

Vidak’s opposition to the Managed Care Organization tax bill is particularly disappointing because it was put together by Gov. Jerry Brown and Legislative leaders with significant Republican input.

The only input Republicans should be giving is "Hell No!"

For example, in accompanying bills that are part of the package, Republican members asked for – and received – $173 million in transportation loan repayments and $240 million from Proposition 2 debt repayment funds to pay down the liability for state retiree health.

They should not have to ask for these repayments in exchange for something. We need to stop paying people more money to do the same jobs which they had first pledged to do. The state legislature owes every legal resident goods streets and safe cities with our taxpayer dollars. There is no reason to beg for funds or buckler under higher taxes.

In addition, Republican and Democratic members received one of their big “asks” in another bill: major rate increases for community-based services for the developmentally disabled. With passage, this legislation will be worth almost $500 million to those who help the developmentally disabled.

The disabled and disadvantaged in our communities should have to do nothing more than just be there. What is it with our political class, that they sit and wait for us to beg them for anything? Shame on all of them.

More than $300 million would come from the state’s general fund, triggering another $189 million in federal funding.

The nearly $500 million would raise rates and wages for programs and caregivers serving those with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and similar conditions. The overdue raises would be the first in a decade.

That pot of money also would provide for the expansion of supported and independent living, respite, transportation and employment services. And it would reduce disparities in service delivery.

One critical element of the MCO tax reform bill is that it isn’t expected to increase health-care premiums. Here is what Assemblymember Kristin Olsen, the former Republican leader of the lower house, tweeted Feb. 22 about the MCO bill:

“Who benefits from MCO plan? Every Californian! Cutting debt, helping disabled, improving healthcare access, saving CA $1.3B = great package!”

Olsen is falling into more disfavor with grassroots Republicans. She keeps caving on taxes instead of standing on principle.

Olsen then followed with a second tweet: “If 2+2=4 then MCO is a net tax cut (not increase). It’s called math.”

No! It's called pandering and bending over for the tax-and-spendthrift Democratic majority in Sacramento. At least Vidak is refusing to go along with this nonsense.

Here’s how that math works. The state would eliminate the corporate and gross premium taxes it imposes on health plans such as Blue Shield and Anthem, at a collective cost of $371 million. That would be offset by a separate tax on managed-care organizations.

All of this tax kabuki theater is a big flop. Brown should be cutting those two taxes along with allowing the MCO to sunset.

No taxes!

Overall state tax collections would fall by about $100 million. But assuming Uncle Sam OKs the details, the state would remain eligible to receive the $1.35 billion in federal funds earmarked for Medi-Cal providers.

And there's the other rub. "Assuming Uncle Sam OKs the deal ..." California Republicans need to recognize that the Congress is not doing much of anything right now, and conservatives (rightly so) are looking to cut more spending, and get rid of the bad Boehner-Ryan spending Omnibus deal from last year.

It is significant that California Chamber of Commerce, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California, nursing home operators, physicians’ groups, and others support the deal. Kaiser is neutral, as is the anti-tax lobbying group the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The Chamber of Compromise and the (Self-)Insurance industry love this deal? All the more reason to vote it down.

Even though the deal pencils and the state Chamber of Commerce has provided political cover for Republicans such as Vidak, the representative of a district where many people depend on Medi-Cal says he will oppose the MCO bill.

There is no such thing as political cover for Republicans in California. They need to stand for the taxpayers and stand on principle, just as Senator Vidak has on this issue.

And in an example of politics played in the most cynical of ways, Vidak says he will vote for another piece of legislation in the package: the $307 million increase for developmentally disabled services.

Yes. Do it. This funding should have happened last year or the year before. There is plenty of  money in Sacramento The problem is that most of the money is going to well-connected special interests instead of the public interes.

We reached out to Vidak’s office today. He emailed back that “despite promises to the contrary, the MCO tax hike will likely result in health insurance rate hikes on low- and middle-income families and small businesses that are already struggling to pay for Obamacare.”

He's right!

So, Vidak is voting to give up $1.35 billion in health-care funding because he doesn’t like Obamacare.

Good for him! Guess, what Fresno Bee editorial staff: lots of people do not like Obamacare! I shouted at Rep. Maxine Waters that "Obamacare can go straight to hell!"

We urge him, in Olsen’s words, to do the math and reconsider

I urge the liberal media to shut up and stop carrying water for Big Business and Big Labor.

TOday, I write a big:

Thank you, Senator Andy Vidak!

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