We’ve seen it time and again: SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY TALKS. The solar goons have worked their black magic by raining cash down on Jones Street. And now the hospital lobby has done the same and achieved the same results.
Laugh yourself silly the next time Chris Fitzsimon or some other silly Raleigh liberal takes to the airwaves to complain about what “conservative extremists” are doing to our fair state. In just nine short years, conservatism in Raleigh has been MURDERED. ANNIHILATED.
Big government has won. The rest of us are left standing on the sidelines, mouths agape in shock and awe, watching what’s being done with our money and wondering what the hell it is we voted for in 2010. We’re spectators (who happen to be footing the bill for this ugly orgy.) Just got ahead and strike that “limited government” and fiscal responsibility” *nonsense* from the state GOP platform. Keeping it in there, and continuing to mouth those platitudes, is deeply dishonest.
Former state representative Dale Folwell (R) worked wonders in cleaning up the highly FUBAR-ed unemployment insurance system. You would think it would be a no-brainer to put him on fixing that money-bleeding nightmare known as the state health plan. (The plan made it to its current sorry state in no small part to the micro-managing mischief by legislators in both parties who saw it as their own personal piggy-bank and slush fund.)
So, along comes Dale Folwell trying to do exactly what the legislature empowered the state treasurer’s office to do years ago: competently manage the state health plan. Folwell decided taxpayers needed to understand exactly what health care providers were billing the health plan FOR.
This did not sit well with the folks at the hospitals and clinics sending in those fat, vague, non-specific bills. Armies of lobbyists were dispatched to spend dark money on ads smearing Folwell and his pricing transparency plan. A lot of politician pockets were lined. A bill got drafted (with a lot of lobbyist, um. “help”) that tied Folwell’s hands on exactly what he could to in regard to the state health plan.
The bill, H184, got its first hearing in the House Health Committee today. Conveniently, there was NO roll call vote on this expensive legislation — with a total cost over 3 years of $400 to 600 MILLION.
The bill did get amended. The time frame for the “study” on changing the health plan was shortened. The state employees — who stand to be affected the most by this bill — got their representation on the “study committee” expanded from ONE to TWO. (Isn’t that nice?) And the whole package is still going to cost the taxpayers an additional $241 MILLION.
Sources in the room during the committee vote tell us that state Reps. Phil Shepard (R) and Michael Wray (D) appeared to be the only NO votes.
So, the next stop is the House Insurance Committee, and then the Rules Committee. Then, it goes to the House floor.
There was no real good reason to do this. It went against one of the alleged core principles of the majority party. The prime beneficiaries of the state health plan — the state employees — appear to be solidly behind what Folwell is doing. Taxpayers — seeking to avoid a $400-600 MILLION hit from doing NOTHING and “studying” the idea of reform — appear to be all for it.
But the deep-pocketed lobbyists who are so kind and compassionate to campaign accounts all over Jones Street were not happy and HAD to be mollified.
It’s a sad day for The Republican Party and conservatism itself, and likely the end of any hope of continuing any kind go GOP dominance in Raleigh