Monday, June 18, 2012

Will Mitch Crane keep John Kowalko's support now that he has flip-flopped on HB 392?

This is John Kowalko standing beside Mitch Crane to endorse him for Insurance Commissioner in his Democratic primary race against incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart:

"I supported Karen Weldin Stewart four years ago for Insurance Commissioner. However, she has not lived up to her promise to protect Delaware consumers. I've worked with and have gotten to know Mitch well enough to say for certain that he will deliver on his promise to put the consumer first."
I just want to weigh in here if no one minds. In my scores of visits to the Wilmington Carvel State building where our new castle county State offices are located, I’ve often encountered Karen at the front desk where she was stationed as a paid and/or unpaid worker for the Dem. Senate and McDowell. I related some of this story just recently at the UAW Region 8 Women’s Conference that I recently spoke at. I have seldom seen as dedicated a constituent server as Karen. 
On innumerable occasions we would go over SB177 (the single payer bill that McDowell and I are on) looking to answer queries and concerns that people might have with the bill. Karen would often update me with the info she had gathered from one of her out of state sources promoting similar bills or having a specific knowledge of portions of it. I would drop off a question or needed interpretation and the next time in Karen would have the answer. 
But this is not what struck me about a person obviously doing her job well. What impressed me every time was Karen’s dedication and compassion for those people who would call with a myriad of problems ranging from not having health care, to utility shut-offs, to foreclosure, to not being able to afford to clothe their children for school. Karen would stop me at the door and say “Representative Kowalko could you give me someone at ACORN or Delmarva or the AG’s office that I can call to help this person” (usually on the phone desperate for advice). Then she would say I’ve tried everywhere and there must be something we can do to get them help. Even as she embarked on her campaign I would remark that maybe she could get someone else to make those calls or get those answers and every single time Karen would say no there has to be something we can do. We would then spend time we didn’t have trying to do something. 
Karen Weldin Stewart is a genuinely compassionate and concerned person who will not turn her back on those most in need. Her enthusiasm to help people still inspires me to work harder since I realized that here was a staffer more dedicated than many elected public servants to helping people. In fact she is one of the most knowledgeable and intelligent people I’ve encountered in public service. Anyhow , my apologies for being long-winded but Karen has earned every word I’ve written here and more.
John Kowalko 

Note the reference to SB 177, which was the original version of the current Delaware Single-Payer bill HB 392.  Back in 2008, KWS was apparently the apple of Representative Kowalko's eye when she was supposedly helping vet the bill:
I can’t answer for Karen but when you look at any plan, especially as complex as single payer universal health care, you better be devil advocating in your scrutiny of the real or imagined weaknesses. I was asking Karen some serious questions that were or would be raised as we moved forward and she was diligent in researching the proposal and objections to the proposal. One important fact to recognize in the context of politics is that if you fail to anticipate even the most seemingly insignificant objection it could be used to politically distract from the basic importance and intent of the legislation. If Karen doubted that SB177 could pass as written then her reasons for doubting it were of paramount importance to the discussion to enable crafting the argument for passage by addressing the concerns honestly. Karen handled a difficult task with the objectivity necessary to move single payer to the next level of discussion.
John Kowalko

Karen put together SB 177, the single payer health plan, and will work to get it enacted.
(She may have done some editing, but there is plenty--plenty--plenty of evidence that SB 177/HB 392 is almost single-handedly the work of Dr. Floyd McDowell.  I may not like the bill, but let's not steal the man's credit for writing it.)

She was also a legislative aide for state Sen. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington North) and prepared a number of pieces of legislation, including Senate Bill 177, a single-payer universal health care bill.
She said establishing a universal health-care system in the state would be among her top priorities in office, in addition to her day-to-day responsibility of being the watchdog of the insurance industry.

[KWS] said single-payer may prove too costly . . . .
But, of course, KWS didn't support Single-payer in SB 177 or any other form once she got elected, which I suspect caused John Kowalko to abandon her--with the cost of his endorsement to Mitch Crane being Mitch coming out in support of the rejuventated SB 177 (now HB 392).

Of course, the problem is that Mitch Crane didn't even wait for a full day before vacillating in his own support of Single-payer, declaring that (a) it might not be possible in Delaware and that (b) we should wait until at least 2014 (or maybe even 2017) when Vermont adopted Single-payer and see how that worked out.

One of the reasons that jason cut off the comments in that thread was probably to save Mitch from doing any more damage to his own campaign.

Which raises the burning question:  if Mitch Crane cannot manage to distance himself from his flip-flop on Single-payer, will John Kowalko desert him as thoroughly as he deserted KWS?

Probably a moot point:  the good folks at Delawareliberal won't bring up Mitch's apostasy again, and unless the KWS people figure it out for themselves, he's liable to get away with it.


Nancy Willing said...

ugh, WTF? why is Crane not able to stand for the one thing that separated himself from KWS?

Anonymous said...

That's funny, I always thought the one thing that separated him from Karen was competence.

Anonymous said...

The single-payer bill wasn't filed to pass this legislative session. The authors were clear when they rolled it out that the purpose of filing the bill was to begin a dialogue about how to cover Delaware's uninsured while lowering healthcare costs.

In terms of making this bill law, assuming the ACA is upheld, Delaware would need to be granted a waiver, similar to the one Vermont is pursuing. The earliest Vermont or Delaware would be able to obtain a waiver from the federal government is 2014, and if they are unable to obtain a waiver, Vermont has said it will have to wait until 2017.

Those are the facts. Jaques, Kowalko, and Crane are in complete agreement in understanding the realities of making this bill law.

Hube said...

Keep up the awesome work, Steve. I am thoroughly enjoying these detailed fiskings!

Steven H. Newton said...

@Anonymous: Your interpretation founders on the fact of what Mitch Crane actually said. He first said (and continues to say on his campaign website) that he supports the passage of HB 392 as written. There is nothing on his website or press release that says otherwise.

When pressed on the problems with the bill, he then backtracked and said he didn't know if Single-Payer would work in Delaware. That's a fact. That's what Mitch said. It completely contradicts what's on his website.

Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

@ Steve

The Single-Payer bill is a starting point, not a final product. That's what the authors have all said from the beginning. The entire point of introducing it now was to begin a discussion, not to pass the bill now.

from Mitch's original statement on the bill (on his website):

"The filing of this bill should begin a long process of discussion and debate as to how a Single Payer system can be implemented in Delaware."

Did you simply ignore that sentence in you "analysis"?

Steven H. Newton said...

@Anonymous--keep trying to ignore all of the sentences that preceded the one you quote out of context:

Mitch Crane, the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for Insurance Commissioner, announced his support for House Bill 392, a bill to implement a single-payer healthcare system in Delaware. “Health care is a right, not a privilege. For the 125,000 Delawareans currently uninsured and thousands more underinsured, this bill will provide health insurance coverage for every Delawarean. As health insurance premiums rise at unsustainable rates, this bill will bend the cost curve by rooting out wasteful health insurance spending including lobbying expenses, advertising costs, and corporate profits.

Mirch is pretty clear that he supports this bill.

He is equally clear on DL where he says he doesn't even know if Single-payer can work in Delaware.

Keep on trying.

I'm only using what he said, in context.

Anonymous said...

You're basically attacking nuance, which I understand is a concept lost on most Libertarians who don't have to worry about governing (since nobody wants to elect them).

Steven H. Newton said...

@Anonymous: there is a profound difference between nuance and flat-out contradictory statements.

I support HB 392 and Single-payer although it may take some discussion and work to get a final bill

. . . . is nuance.

I'm not sure single-payer can work in a state as small as Delaware

. . . . is contradiction.

The fact that you know that is indicated best by your switch to an attack on me (and I'm not running for anything) for simply quoting what Mitch actually said.

But, hey, if you think you can sell that nuance line in an electoral campaign, go for it. We'll both see how it plays in September.

Delaware Watch said...

Anonymous is right, Steve. You are torturing language to create the impression that Crane supported passage of the bill right away and completely disregard the statement which plainly contradicts your interpolations in the other things he said. You have performed this hermenutical trickery not only to Crane but in another post about Kowlako's comments on the bill. Oppose the bill if you wish on the merits, but don't twist what people say. That's unnecessary.

Steven H. Newton said...


I am not torturing anything. He said unequivocally on his website not that he supports Single-payer, but that he supports the system this bill will enact. I don't care whether it is now or in January. Mitch says that he supports single-payer as in HB392.

Then he turns around in DL and says that he doesn't even know if single-payer will work in a state the size of Delaware (the exact point you tried to ridicule me for), and admits that we shouldn't really enact anything until after we see how Vermont does with it--knowing that it will 2014-2017 before Vermont does so.

This is exactly EXACTLY the same disingenuous strategy that Karen Weldin Stewart used to get elected in 2008. She claimed in the major news media and on her website that she authored and supported SB 177 and it would be a priority for her administration. At the same time (as I have shown) she was giving interviews in the south end of the state where she said it would probably be too expensive to do.

Every four years the insurance commissioner candidate du jour trots out single-payer on his/her website for all the potential voters to see, and then hedges his/her bets in other places.

You want to support Mitch and you want to support HB 392, that's fine. But trying to deny his own words mean something when they plainly do (and I did not take them out of context, and provided links for anyone to check for themselves) is a purely political, not intellectual or ethical stand.

Have Mitch modify his campaign website to be consistent with the comments he made on DL if you want to resolve the problem. Quit complaining that I am quoting him.