Bob McDonnell: Four Years of Failure, Broken Promises (Part 4 - Health Care)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yesterday, I wrote about Bob McDonnell's 4 years of failure on ethics/government reform. Today, I turn to Part 4 - Health Care. Again, let's start with what Bob McDonnell promised in his 2009 campaign, and compare it to the results - or lack thereof - he's accomplished (or not) since he became governor.1. "All Virginians should have access to affordable and high quality health care, even those with pre-existing conditions."
That's exactly what the Affordable Care Act - what Republicans like McDonnell like to call "Obamacare" - does. Yet Republicans like McDonnell have vociferously opposed "Obamacare," even though it's almost identical to "Romneycare" and to the 1993/94 Republican alternative to "Hillarycare" (don't you just love these idiotic nicknames?). It's not like Republicans have an alternative to providing Virginian with "access to affordable and high quality health care, even those with pre-existing conditions," because THEY DO NOT. As for McDonnell, all you need to know is that he proudly signed the appalling "Healthcare Freedom Act", adding that he opposed the supposedly "unprecedented federal mandate on individuals that we believe violates the U.S. Constitution" stemming from the Affordable Care Act. What the disgraceful  Healthcare Freedom Act does, in McDonnell's words, is to set "as the policy of the Commonwealth that no individual, with several specific exceptions, can be required to purchase health insurance coverage." Of course, that refers to the "individual mandate," which was a conservative Republican idea, all about promoting "individual responsibility" and good conservative values like that. Well, not anymore - if Obama's for it, they're agin' it. It's called "Obama Derangement Syndrome," and McDonnell seems to have caught a serious case of it, probably from Ken Kookinelli. Ugh.
2. "Incentives for coverage of wellness care and prevention must be provided to reduce the occurrence of much more expensive care later on."
This one just points out what a raging hypocrite McDonnell is, railing against the federal government while bragging about how he "snagged $2 million in federal funding" to "help Medicare beneficiaries with their prescription drug coverage and improve wellness care for Medicare recipients." Just to show how outrageously hypocritical McDonnell is, that same article points out that "McDonnell opposed the [healthcare] law and frequently cites it as an example of federal overreach by President Obama's administration." In addition, McDonnell "is supporting a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) challenging the law's constitutionality." Any further questions?
3. "Government should concentrate its resources to ensure those Virginians most in need have access to high quality health care, while also providing incentives to Virginia employers, employees and citizens to obtain affordable health insurance."
Ditto to points made in #1 and #2.
4. "Virginia should focus on reforming the health care system to lower the cost of health care and reduce the growth in health care spending."
That's exactly what the Affordable Care Act does. McDonnell opposed the Affordable Care Act. End of story.
5. "Virginia should provide encouragement and resources for family members that provide care and support for their loved ones."
Same points as made above.
6. "Reform should be bi-partisan, promote innovation, quality and cost-effectiveness without adversely affecting employment opportunities and economic growth."
You mean, like the Affordable Care Act, which was modeled heavily on Romneycare, the 1993/94 Republican alternative to "Hillarycare," and the conservative Republican "individual mandate" concept? Oh wait, again I almost forgot, it was great when Republicans were proposing it, horrible when Democrats were.
7. "Encourage and Expand Health Savings Accounts"
According to pro-Republican PolitiFact, this one rates as a "Promise Broken" for McDonnell.
8. "The McDonnell administration will be a strong advocate for Virginians with mental health needs and their families."
There's no sign of that. Instead, as the horrendous Deeds family tragedy demonstrated, Virginia's system of care for people with severe mental health needs is woefully lacking.
Finally, I'd point out that Virginia under Gov. McDonnell's misrule refused to set up its own state healthcare "exchange" and failed to expand Medicaid (even though it's fully funded by the federal government for several years, and even though several Republican governors went ahead with this). As if that's not bad enough, even pro-Republican PolitiFact called out McDonnell for having "repeatedly tried to cut funding to community health centers, free clinics and other 'safety net' organizations that serve the uninsured and medically underserved." PolitiFact rated this a "promise broken," a rating that can be applied to pretty much all of Bob McDonnell's 2009 promises when it comes to health care.