Barbara Shelly

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder urges Missourians to forgo affordable insurance

Updated: 2013-09-24T23:02:50Z

By Barbara Shelly

The Kansas City Star

If Missourians actually took Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder seriously, he wouldn’t be whiling away his third term in a mostly ceremonial political office.

And so it’s doubtful that too many people will follow Kinder’s advice and steer clear of the new health insurance marketplace scheduled to go on line next week.

Even so, Kinder’s message, delivered Monday, is incredible for its callousness. Here is a guy who for 20 years (eight as lieutenant governor so far and 12 before that as a state senator) has been receiving subsidized health insurance at taxpayer expense. And he’s telling Missourians who may not be fortunate enough to have an affordable insurance policy to stay away from the place designed to help them.

“I would hope there would be active resistance to this law — that people would not sign up,” Kinder said.

He speaks, of course, of the Affordable Care Act, a law which Kinder disdains. He filed a ridiculous lawsuit challenging its implementation; it went nowhere. So now the lieutenant governor is reduced to advising citizens to act against their own interests, just to make a point. Not that anyone is sure what the point is.

Thanks to Kinder and Missouri politicians like him, the setup of a federal insurance exchange is as difficult to accomplish in Missouri as anywhere in the nation. An unfortunate ballot measure authorized by GOP lawmakers has prevented state workers from setting up a state exchange or assisting the federal government with creating a marketplace for Missouri. The state’s voters, many of whom oppose anything associated with President Barack Obama, voted for the measure as a protest against “Obamacare.” Few of them realized the measure would put Missouri far behind the curve, but politicians like Kinder should have known better.

“I don’t see any reason to enable the implementation of this law,” Kinder said. “I think the whole thing is in the process of collapsing.”

The lieutenant governor is detached from reality. The Affordable Care Act is alive and well. Initial indications from states that are out in front in the creation of insurance marketplaces are promising. The “active resistance” from people like Kinder just means Missourians will have to wait longer than residents of other states to receive the cost savings and medical security that the exchanges are intended to bring.

To reach Barbara Shelly, call 816-234-4594 or send email to bshelly@kcstar.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/bshelly.

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