What’s The Matter With Kansas, Weld County Edition

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Greeley Tribune’s Sharon Dunn reports from Weld County, Colorado, where a solidly Republican electorate voted for Donald Trump last November–and now face the consequences of their vote:

About 73,584 Weld County residents use Medicaid, according to the most recent count by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. That’s about 24 percent of the county.

With President Donald Trump’s budget plan calling for $800 billion in cuts to the federal Medicaid program over the next 10 years and reports that the American Health Care Act, if passed, could leave 23 million more people across the country uninsured, it’s likely Weld residents will feel the changes…

So we’re clear,  these are not positive changes. Unless you’re Weld County’s congressman, GOP Rep. Ken Buck:

The Congressional Budget Office released a report May 24 estimating the direct spending and revenue effects of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House but has yet to go to the Senate. The report estimates the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the coming decade.

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who voted for the bill, said it’s important to reduce the country’s deficit.

“It is clear we have healthy, able-bodied men and women who can join the workforce who are not in the workforce, and we have got to cut benefits [Pols emphasis] and incentivize employment in this country,” Buck said.

There are few members of Congress willing to be as frank about the goals of Republican policy as Ken Buck. Other Republicans couch their desire to cut people off from social safety nets in platitudes about offering “better” services to needy Americans than what current law provides, or highlight individual cases of people who aren’t seeing the benefits of reform.

It’s another thing completely to say we have to cut benefits to “incentivize” lazy Americans to go to work. Buck is evoking the worst kind of prejudice against recipients of all kinds of public assistance, the assumption that safety nets breed dependency and complacency instead of bridging financial gaps any family could face. The argument that we need to “incentivize employment” by cutting public assistance assumes a lack of work ethic that is simply offensive to recipients–especially considering how many recipients work full time at jobs that don’t pay enough to cover basic needs.

With all of this in mind, Rep. Buck’s dismissive insult of 24% of the population of the largest county in his congressional district is politically mind boggling to us. There is nothing to be gained politically from making such heartless assumptions about thousands of your own constituents. With so many residents on Medicaid, even the most hard case talk radio-loving social Darwinist knows someone who could be affected. We’re not saying this could endanger Buck’s re-election in his deep red district, but it’s horrible both for his own public image and for the Republican brand generally. It undermines more moderate Republicans looking to put a kinder face on these proposals.

Ken Buck’s lack of a filter is at least as big a threat to fellow Republicans as it is to Buck personally.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Early WormEarly Worm says:

    Buck stupidity is not only frustrating, it is cruel:

    In 2015, in Colorado, 77 % of Medicaid recipients had at least one full-time worker in the household. Kaiser Family Foundation figures (sorry don't know how to link). When these people are dumped off of Medicaid, incentivized or not, they cannot magically create jobs with heath insurance benefits for themselves and their families. And there is no evidence that the millionaires and billionaires are simply waiting for their next tax break to create such jobs. I do not say this to demonize Phil Anschutz, Charlie Ergen, John Malone, James Leprino, Pat Stryker, or Gary Magness. On the contrary, they are very good at running their respective businesses and making money. If they thought that they could make more by increases the number of high paying jobs, with health insurance for low-skilled employees, they would have already done so. Giving these billionaires a few extra hundreds of millions in tax breaks is not going to incentivize them to create these jobs. 

    These newly uninsured will either forgo medical care completely resulting in suffering and death (Buck is such a Christian), or they will seek medical care from emergency rooms and other, less than efficient venues.  You cannot get blood (or cash) from a turnip, so the costs associated with their care will be redistributed amongst the rest of us in the form of higher premiums and higher costs for care. It is very regressive and very inefficient but is it what the market demands.


  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Buck's comment about the need to reduce the deficit is correct. I can buy into his argument for reduction of Medicaid rolls if he in turn would call for an audit of our dear friends in the Pentagon instead of blindly accepting Trump's call for more defense spending. If Buck needs better understanding of the Pentagon situation, he can chat with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has been calling for an audit of the Defense Department for some years.

    Recent news, that some may have missed, is that the Army can't account for about a billion dollars of equipment in Iraq. As the late Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL) once said: "a billion here, a billion there; pretty soon, you're talking about real money." 

  3. Carolannie says:

    What about a guarantee of a job?  Otherwise, to expect people to work when there is no work, and to punish them for not working, or to expect them to work at a Wal-mart type job without making sure that there is healthcare available to them, is, what, not very Christian even though Kenny boy claims to be one in his bio :" Ken is a Christian and a leader in his profession and community. Ken has volunteered and served on the boards of many important community groups. As District Attorney, Ken brought together community leaders to create the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC). The Center has helped more than two thousand kids and their families get back on the right path in life. "


    Gag me with a spoon

  4. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Arbeit macht frei.  Give the "deserving" poor a bare minimum of help, hard to win and harder to keep, and let the undeserving wither and die.

    • ModeratusModeratus says:

      I knew some nut would bring up the Nazis eventually. You lose the argument.

      • unnamed says:

        And you lost your mind Moldy.  

        Now get me my ACA article, my Russia Article and all the other shit you owe me.

      • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

        Although the Nazis co-opted the phrase, it originally comes from a story by Lorenz Diefenbach which talks about an itinerant gambler and scoundrel who finds redemption through more traditional employment.  I'm not making the Nazi comparison, not least because many on the American left hold the same ideas as Buck with regard to "welfare for the deserving," but it's interesting that you're so ready to.

        Pro-life until they're out of the womb, then devil take the hindmost.

        • DavieDavie says:

          The common thread is that if you didn't choose to become pregnant, or choose to become poor, in Moldy's world view: "Tough luck – we own you so we'll decide your fate for you"

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