Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has gone to great lengths to oppose the Affordable Care Act — aka, Obamacare — even to the point of filing a lawsuit challenging its implementation.
But his latest effort to undermine the law is his most insidious and distasteful move to date.
Last week, Kinder urged Missouri residents to boycott the online marketplace that launches Tuesday, saying: “I would hope there would be active resistance to this law — that people would not sign up.”
Kinder, like many of his Republican colleagues at the state and federal level, would rather turn a blind eye to the thousands of needy state residents who are unable to access or afford health insurance.
Missouri has roughly 800,000 people without health insurance. About half of those could be eligible for subsidized coverage through the online health insurance exchange, said Ryan Barker, vice president of health policy at the Missouri Foundation for Health.
The foundation, which is part of the Cover Missouri Coalition, is encouraging people to consider their coverage options under the exchange. “The marketplace is another option for people to compare prices and look and see if it might be something that works for themselves and their family and small business,” Barker said.
In many respects, the marketplace is an example of free enterprise. Insurance plans included in the exchange are offered by private companies. All will be expected to include the same core set of health benefits, including many preventive services at no cost, but consumers will have a choice on which plan best suits their needs.
Options will be presented in a simple format — with different prices, benefits and features divided into four options based on cost (bronze, silver, gold and platinum). No one can be denied coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions.
Of course, Kinder is sitting comfortable while he discourages poor families and even jobless adults or others unable to get insurance.
Kinder is insured through the state plan for employees, his spokesman confirmed. For those plans, the state pays the majority of the cost.
Kinder’s spiteful attempt to discourage people from accessing health care reminds us of Captain Ahab and his quest to kill the white whale. You can almost hear the echoes of Gregory Peck from the classic 1956 “Moby Dick” film:
“From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
Copyright Springfield News-Leader. Reprinted with permission.