State Senate hypocrisy

Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013
State Senate hypocrisy story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It took a full year for the State Senate to finally eke out a contentious victory for Medicaid expansion late Tuesday night.

It was good news for nearly a half-million working poor people.

But the good news was tarnished by what the Republican-dominated Senate failed to do only moments later.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says West Michigan Senators should be ashamed of themselves.

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Before we get to the newest definition of hypocrisy, lets do a minute of history.

A year ago the state Republican party leader, Gov. Rick Snyder, began urging the House and the Senate to extend Medicaid coverage to nearly a half-million, mostly working Michigan residents who, through no fault of their own, have no health insurance—the ones who live just above the poverty line and end up using costly emergency rooms as doctors offices.

Taxpayers and those who have insurance—in one way or another—have long been picking up the tab.

Medicaid expansion is a part of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—which was passed four years ago by the U.S. Congress and made the law of the land a year ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But it left Medicaid extension up to the states themselves.

The House almost immediately voted yes. But, when the matter came up for a vote in the Senate three months ago, rather than actually vote, the Senate spewed lots of  rhetoric about health care for the poor being too expensive, stuck its  collective head in the sand, and took a vacation instead.

On Tuesday, with so many people watching, and no way to kick the can down the road again, they did take a vote. Not without more warnings about the perils of another dreaded entitlement cost, and more denunciations of Obamacare, but they took a vote.

And rather than see it end in a tie—19 to 19—with Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley casting the deciding vote, as it needed 20 votes for passage, a tea party senator from the east side of state abstained. There, no tie. No Calley vote. And the bill failed.

Then a motion to reconsider. High drama. Hours of back room arguing and arm-twisting. The governor accusing his party of dragging its feet. Then another vote. A Republican senator from the U.P. changed his mind.

A coalition of all 12 democrats and eight of 26 republicans carried the day.

One last thing remained. To make it effective immediately—effective January 1st—when enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins, or let it slide until April.

The Republicans, apparently hoping in the meantime for the  impossible repeal of Obamacare, let it slide.

They let it slide at a cost to the state of $7 million a day in lost federal money.

A total of $600 million over 90 days. More than a half-billion dollars lost in the bizarre, tea-party-world name of frugality.

In the name of protecting our children from another entitlement cost.

All  this  from the same bunch who two years ago voted themselves life-long health care at state expense after just years on the job. Lifetime medical benefits. If that doesn't raise hypocrisy to a new level, I don't know what does.

With pressure from you, the Senate can revisit this. They can take another vote and correct their mind-numbing infatuation with themselves. But they've got to do it soon.

If you live in West Michigan, your senator is a Republican. Their names are Jones, Kowall, Proos, Meekhof, Nofs, Schuitmaker, Hildenbrand, Booher, and Jansen. Call them. Write them, text them. Tell them you think wasting seven million dollars a day is unacceptable.

Let them know that this level of hypocrisy is beyond your level of tolerance.

In this corner, I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on July 07, 2015 07:36 GMT

GREECE-BAILOUT

PARIS (AP) -- Eurozone nations will hold an emergency summit today to discuss how to proceed following the `no' result in Greece's bailout referendum.

In the meantime, Germany's EU commissioner says he's optimistic that a new Greek finance minister and opposition parties' backing for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (TSEE'-prahs) could smooth negotiations between Athens and its European creditors.

Greece's polarizing finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, resigned Monday and was replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos. Three opposition parties offered backing for Tsipras in the bailout negotiations.

Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Deutschlandfunk radio Tuesday that Tsakalotos "doesn't have the same attitude as his predecessor. He knows the figures, the facts, he knows our reform proposals ... and he knows that we are flexible."

German officials insist that, even after its voters rejected more austerity in a referendum, Greece must accept conditions for any new aid.

Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel said "time is of the essence," after discussing the Greek crisis with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. She said that Greece must advance proposals to the table this week.

Greece's banks are facing the risk of collapse within days unless a rescue deal is reached. The European Central Bank maintained its level of cash assistance to Greek banks ahead of today's emergency meeting.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A few economic reports are due out from the federal government later this morning. The Commerce Department will release international trade data for May and the Labor Department will release its job openings and labor turnover survey for the same month. This afternoon, the Federal Reserve releases May consumer credit data.

ECONOMY-SERVICES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. service firms grew at a slightly faster pace in June, as business activity and new orders increased.

The Institute for Supply Management says its services index edged up to 56 in June from 55.7 in May. Any reading over 50 indicates that services firms are expanding.

Steady hiring over the past year has fueled a consumer spending rebound from a winter slump. Many economists say the economy will expand at an annual rate of 2.5 per cent in the second quarter, after shrinking during the first three months of 2015.

Still, the index's hiring component slipped in June to 52.7 from 55.3 in May, which indicates that the rate of job growth might slow.

The report corresponds with economic growth of around 3 percent annually in the second quarter, Lee said.

SKOREA-EARNS-SAMSUNG-ELECTRONICS

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung Electronics Co. forecasts its second-quarter profit has dropped 4 percent from a year earlier.

The maker of Galaxy smartphones said in its earnings preview Tuesday that its April-June operating profit was 6.9 trillion won ($6.1 billion). The consensus among analysts was 7.23 trillion won, according to financial data provider FactSet.

Samsung said sales fell 8 percent over a year earlier to 48 trillion won. The company is scheduled to disclose its net profit and breakdown figures among its business divisions later this month.

The announcement shows that recovery at Samsung's smartphone division was not as strong as expected.

Analysts have lowered profit forecasts on Samsung in recent weeks, citing the weaker-than-expected sales of its flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which went on sale in April.

US-STARBUCKS-PRICE-HIKE

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks says it's hiking prices again starting today, with the increases ranging from 5 to 20 cents for most affected drinks.

The Seattle-based company also raised prices nationally about a year ago.

The company says that a small and large brewed coffee will each go up by 10 cents in most areas of the country. That would bring the price of a large coffee to $2.45 in most U.S. stores.

Some other coffee sellers are cutting prices. Last week, The J.M. Smucker Co. said it would cut prices for most of its coffee products because of declines in future prices for unroasted coffee beans. In an emailed statement yesterday, Starbucks Corp. said coffee costs are only part of its expenses, which also include rent, labor, marketing and equipment.

US-SURVEYMONKEY-SANDBERG

Sheryl Sandberg joins SurveyMonkey board of directors

UNDTED ( AP) -- SurveyMonkey will add two new members to its board of directors, including Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

Sandberg is the widow of David Goldberg, who was CEO at SurveyMonkey from 2009 until he died in an accident while exercising in May.

The Palo Alto, California, company said Monday its other new director is David Ebersman, the CEO of Lyra Health and former chief financial officer at Facebook.

SurveyMonkey, which operates an online survey platform, also said Zander Lurie, its acting executive chairman, will take on the role on a permanent basis.

WAL-MART-ARMORED CAR HEIST

BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) -- Investigators say they have no suspects in the theft of $75,000 from an Oklahoma Wal-Mart by a man disguised as an armored truck driver.

Authorities say the suspect entered the Wal-Mart store in Bristow about 10:30 a.m. Saturday dressed similarly to a Loomis armored transport employee. The suspect strolled to the cash office, signed for the deposit and walked out of the store.

Wal-Mart employees called police after the real Loomis employee arrived about 45 minutes later. Bristow is about 35 miles southeast of Tulsa.

Bristow Police Chief Wayne Williams said Monday investigators have not identified the suspect whose image was captured by a video surveillance camera. Williams says officials don't believe the suspect lives in the area.

Williams says Wal-Mart has alerted its other stores about the theft.

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