Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kowalko strikes HB 392--apparently the public dialogue wasn't going quite the way he anticipated

From Delaware Politics:
Legislation that would create a single-payer healthcare system in Delaware was stricken this week after opponents misinterpreted the intent behind the filing of the legislation.When House Bill 392 was filed earlier this month, lead sponsor Rep. John Kowalko said that he had no intention of moving forward with the legislation, but simply wanted to start a public dialogue on the issue. Opponents believed that the bill was being rushed through the General Assembly, even after House Majority Leader Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf – who helps set the agenda – stated publicly that the bill would not be worked this year. To quell these concerns, Rep. Kowalko struck HB 392, which means that the legislation no longer exists and cannot be revisited. The legislative session ends on June 30, at which point no new legislation can be introduced.
Part of the "public dialogue" that Representatives Kowalko and Earl Jaques, along with Insurance Commissioner candidate Mitch Crane were so interested in having did not go quite as planned.

Jaques was embarrassed when he could not produce the calculations to prove that the bill's funding mechanism would actually raise the necessary funds, and there is still an outstanding FOIA request to the Secretary of Finance to see if Kowalko and Jaques ever actually had a feasibility study done.  There was also the point that Jaques immediately started backtracking by assuring his senior constituents that he would let them keep their own insurance.

Kowalko wasn't happy about the fact that he was called on the fact that this was really a very old bill recycled for grandstanding purposes, as well as his use of an identical tactic to help elect Karen Weldin Stewart in 2008, and became so intemperate with critics that he started referring to them as "inbreds."

Meanwhile, Mitch Crane, the only person to support the bill who is actually running for office with real opponents, first supported HB 392, then within a day said he wasn't even sure that Delaware was large enough to support a standalone system, or that we should even attempt such a plan before seeing what Vermont does in 2014 or 2017.

With the striking of the bill, Mitch has now conveniently scrubbed his candidate website of all references to single-payer health insurance in Delaware.

It's almost as if the whole mess never happened, isn't it?  Or, alternatively, it's almost as if this was an abortive attempt to give Mitch Crane something to run on . . . .

A final point worth remembering:  it was Libertarians this time around, not the GOPers who had barely even read the bill, who set this chain of events into motion.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Steve.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you are living somewhere between fantasy and delusion. Libertarians made some background static but most of the heavyweight firepower that sank HB 392 came from 9/12 Patriots, who claim no alliance with Libertarians or Republican bloggers such as Faye Voshell, Evan Queitch, David Anderson and Michael Borgia...committee Republicans all.

Anonymous said...

That's "committed," not committee.

delacrat said...

Would that you would run the numbers with such scrutiny on Gary Johnson's

"Revise the terms of entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which threaten to bankrupt the nation's future."

...and the Libertarian Party's proposals the healthcare crisis, as you did for Representative Kowalko's bill.

Steven H. Newton said...


The LP proposals are like Dem and GOPer proposals, impossible to score because they are platform proposals.

I leave it to you to challenge any claims made by Gary Johnson. Kowalko and Jaques made specific, disprovable claims--that a particular funding mechanism could carry the load. I fisked it.

You have my permission (as if you needed it) to do the same to any similar proposed bill by Gary Johnson.

Delaware Patriot said...

This was a combined effort by several grassroots organizations including Positive Growth Alliance who did the initial analysis of the bill and sounded the alert; Caesar Rodney Institute; the 9-12 DePats, Founders Values; Campaign for Liberty; and the Libertarian Party website who provided excellent financial analysis and background research; some Democrats; and the Republican Party. These organizations were well represented at the rally organized by the 9-12 DePats at Leg Hall that Weds to confront their legislators. We were republicans, democrats, libertarians and independents. We may not always agree on everything, but together, we did a great job of fighting HB 392. Congrats to all, now we need to stop Obamacare.

Anonymous said...

Lets hope this teaches pols a lesson about joining or following Kowalko. . . He is the one living in fantastland.

delacrat said...


It's seems to me that if the libertarians do not have anything beyond platform proposals, (that conveniently as you put it "cannot be scored"), it would be more constructive to suggest changes to the Kowalko proposal that would make it viable.

Steven H. Newton said...


I made a detailed proposal four years ago--like Dr. McDowell's bill it could do with some updating, and I'm sure you won't like it all, but you can't argue that I didn't provide sufficient detail.

Dana Garrett said...

So a bill was pulled for consideration THIS year because it confused some legs about when it would be acted upon and you conclude from that it's because you & others made some noise about it? You think a similar bill won't be offered during the next legislative session only earlier?

NCSDad said...

Dana, you obviously do. Which is why I worry about government takeover of healthcare. Kowalko will submit the same bill that Steve so ably destroyed again and again.