Republican Governors implementing Obamacare's Health Insurance Exchanges is also an issue in Kansas. And "political deal making" involving possible conflict of interests appears to be motivation for some in GOP leadership to happily implement Obamacare, charge conservative opponents with being extremists, while the GOP uses Obamacare as a reason for conservatives to send campaign money to the GOP in order defeat Obama in November:
Brownback is still catching most of the fire from some grassroots group leaders over Obamacare and the health exchange. Brownback reiterated his opposition today in a statement on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling (pdf) that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.
“The decision confirms what I have believed all along, that Congress does not have the power to compel Kansans to participate in healthcare finance schemes against their will. This is why I voted against the Affordable Care Act as a United States Senator, this is why I signed the Kansas Healthcare Freedom Act into law protecting the freedom of Kansans to make their own healthcare decisions, and this is part of why just this week Kansas became the second state to opt out of federal early innovator money designed to implement provisions of the ACA dictated from Washington. As I have consistently said, healthcare policy for Kansas must be guided by the elected representatives of Kansans in the Legislature and in the Executive. In this way, the wellbeing and protection of Kansans’ health, pocketbooks, and sovereignty will remain the top priority of any healthcare reform.”
Stop Obama Care in Kansas (SOCK), a coalition of 13 grassroots or conservative group leaders plus a 2nd District GOP delegate, have questioned the sincerity of Brownback’s opposition to the health care law. In a letter published August 9 they cite ongoing efforts to research and implement an exchange in Kansas and accuse Brownback of doing a “flip-flop” a-la Senator John Kerry on the issue.
The letter calls for Amanda Adkins to resign as chair of the Kansas Republican Party in part because of a conflict of interest between Cerner Corp. and the grass roots and GOP rank and file. Adkins managed Brownback’s 2004 Senate campaign before taking a job at Cerner in Kansas City, Missouri.
TheStreet.com, a financial news and services website, lists Cerner, a leader in health care information technology, as one of Obamacare’s biggest IT winners. Nancy Ann DeParle, a former member of Cerner’s board of directors, now serves as President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. She was appointed director of the White House Office of Health Reform leading the administration’s efforts on health care issues, on the same day Sebelius was appointed secretary of HHS.
Richard Fry of November Patriots signed the letter calling on Adkins to resign. Fry said he thinks political deal making is behind efforts to set up an Obamacare exchange in Kansas. “I think one of the reasons for that is Brownback is connected to Cerner through his campaign manager who is also the chairperson for the KS GOP”
Fry said he did not have any specific indication of impropriety or conflict beyond the general affiliations.
“There is no conflict of interest,” Adkins said in a phone interview. “And I’ve been elected twice with not a single person running against me.“
Adkins said it’s important to understand the difference between a group sentiment and that of a few people. “I know most of the people who are commenting really don’t know what I do at Cerner and actually, most of the work I do is focused on people in private sector companies and families.“
Adkins said she is not authorized to speak about Cerner’s business dealings.
Fry, like a clear majority of those identifying with local tea party groups, said he believes Obamacare is unconstitutional and it is the duty of elected officials to oppose it because they’re sworn to uphold the Constitution. That includes not just sending back the $31.5 million grant but stopping all efforts to implement Obamacare.
SOCK is especially upset that Adkins wrote one of the resolutions coming before the GOP Committee meeting because it does not specifically demand that all work stop on implementing Obamacare, including any work on any exchange.
“Kansans don’t care about the source of the funds,” Fry said. “They care about the end results and they do not want an exchange. So, I just have concerns. We have reason to have concern because of the way the Governor and his administration has tried to cover up and spin what they’re actually doing.”
“It’s clearly deceptive and it’s a breach of their oath of office and a breach of their campaign promise.”
The letter, addressed to Adkins, says, “The SOCK coalition believes that the only prudent thing to do is to stop the design and development of the EIG ‘exchange’ in Kansas by Kansas and return the Early Innovator Grant funds to the HHS. We understand this may not in the best financial interest of your company the Cerner Corporation.”
Politicians in Washington and Kansas are struggling with the growing power and influence of conservative grass roots movements. The rapid shift in power is causing problems for old and new power brokers.
“Just like in Washington, some political players in Kansas have characterized tea party activists and those who they helped elect as lacking in understanding, unwilling to compromise, even extremist,” said O’Hara.
“I believe that research needs to be done to make sure that the projects marked for use of the Early Innovator Grants are not being funded by an alternative source,” O’Hara said in an email to KansasWatchdog.
She also said Adkins’ role at Cerner and Cerner’s benefit from Obamacare needs to be watched. “Conflict of interest at times can be a narrow plank to walk.”
“Activists have the right to question the actions of those in public office. If the grassroots hadn’t put pressure on the Brownback Administration to return the Early Innovator Grant, would they have returned the grant?