Daily Archives: Sept. 30, 2013

Pompeo ready to try to sign up for Obamacare

As political stunts go, the move by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, to try to sign up on the health care exchange when it opens Tuesday would seem to do no harm. “It’s going to be chaos; the president knows that,” Pompeo said Monday on CNN of the exchanges’ opening day. The experience might even help Pompeo and his staff assist constituents for whom the insurance marketplace is actually intended – those who lack health insurance because they have been denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition or find insurance unaffordable. It’s easy to forget amid all the Capitol Hill brinkmanship about Tuesday’s opening of the Obamacare enrollment period, but as Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger wrote earlier this year: For some Kansans, the law’s launch “will be welcome relief. They have suffered through the worries of being uninsured during the past recession years, and they will now have a method of providing insured health care for themselves and their families.” Unfortunately, the political atmosphere is too toxic to allow for any bipartisan effort to fix Obamacare’s problems.

Open thread (Sept. 30)

Common Core debate not really about math, language arts

“During a nearly two-hour discussion of the Common Core educational standards in math and language arts Tuesday night in Salina, guess which words or phrases were most used,” began a Salina Journal article about an event sponsored by the Saline County Democratic Party. The choices were “verb,” “Koch brothers,” “algebra” and “Bill Gates.” The most-mentioned Koch brothers were credited with targeting Common Core, with one speaker claiming they “don’t want children to grow up with critical thinking skills.” In second place was Gates, who was criticized by speaker Walt Chappell of Wichita (a former Kansas State Board of Education member) for donating to pro-Common Core groups so Microsoft could benefit. “If a test requires a touch-screen, where do you get the software to do that? Windows 8,” Chappell said. Next came “algebra.” And “verb” wasn’t mentioned once, the Journal reported.

Miller’s nomination a plus for Kansas

Especially considering the high hopes in Wichita and south-central Kansas for a revival of passenger-rail service, it was great to see President Obama nominate former Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller last week to the Surface Transportation Board. The three-member panel not only oversees the rail industry but handles some issues related to trucking, ocean shipping and city buses. Miller, whose nomination requires U.S. Senate confirmation, deserves the full support of Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran. Miller did an impressive job serving from 2003 to 2011 in the cabinets of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and Democratic Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson – no easy task when it came to managing planned highway projects amid the spending cuts of the Great Recession.