Ohhhhh, baby, Happy New Year to you, too:
By STEVE KRASKE
The Kansas City Star
• “Tomorrow, roughly $37 billion – including two billion of Missourians’ tax dollars – will begin to flow to 25 states that are reforming and improving their health care systems. States like Arkansas and New Jersey, Iowa and New Mexico, Michigan and Ohio, Arizona and North Dakota.” — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon bemoaning his state’s decision not to expand Medicaid and take advantage of a hefty influx of federal funds.
Nixon is launching a second campaign to get his state to expand the federal-state health care program for the poor. This campaign isn’t nearly as ambitious as the effort Nixon put in last year. But on this issue, and his push for more money for public schools and higher education, Nixon is setting up quite a showdown with the GOP-led General Assembly in the new year. Republicans have shown an unwillingness to go along with any of these ideas. Instead, they seek to cut taxes
• “January 1st marks not only the beginning of a New Year, but an exciting new day in health care as millions of Americans will now be able to access care.” — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a blog post on the HHS site.
The administration desperately hopes the new year brings more positive news on the Obamacare front. Here’s a guess: Sebelius and lots of HHS employees are working today to get off to that good start.
• Democratic drinkers are more likely to sip Absolut and Grey Goose vodkas, while Republican tipplers are more likely to savor Jim Beam, Canadian Club and Crown Royal. — from a Washington Post story that dissected the drinking preferences of Democrats and Republicans.
Also, the wine you drink says a lot about your party affiliation, too. You buying it? BTW, this is all from research done — if you can believe it — by GFK MRI and analyzed by Jennifer Dube of National Media Research Planning and Placement, an Alexandria-based Republican consulting firm.
• “We expect everything to go on as planned.” — Kansas Statehouse Architect Barry Greis on the opening of the new Capitol visitors center on Thursday.
This is a moment for Kansas as its Statehouse has a new sense of class. The Thursday opening marks the wrap-up to a 13-year, nearly $330 million renovation of the historic Statehouse. Tours of the Dome will be provided for the first time since 2010. Note that this is the first time the Statehouse has had a visitors center. In the past, there was only a information desk on the first floor and a few display cases. The center will have more than 3,000 square feet of space, including an auditorium, classroom and a gift shop.