In rejecting Medicaid expansion, Sam Brownback is like Mother Teresa (in a bad way)
The late polemicist Christopher Hitchens famously described Mother Teresa as a “lying, thieving Albanian dwarf.” Hitchens believed that Teresa was more of dogmatist than a humanitarian, among other sins. He wrote:
“MT [Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.”
There’s a whiff of Hitchens’ Teresa in Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who, as a U.S. senator, teamed up with Ted Kennedy to arrange a Congressional Gold Medal for the nun. Brownback is threatening to veto an expansion of Medicaid that passed the Kansas House and Senate by comfortable but not veto-proof majorities.
Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities. In addition to enabling 150,000 additional Kansas residents to receive coverage, the expansion would create as many as 4,000 jobs.
But Brownback, blinkered by partisanship, is not willing to follow the examples of John Kasich and other Republican governors who have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. His spokeswoman, Melinda Willoughby, reached for the Obamacare-is-in-a-death-spiral talking point as the Kansas Legislature took action this week.
The Kansas City Star‘s editorial board says Brownback’s veto would be “inexplicable and tragic.” Tragic, yes. Inexplicable, no. Brownback typically puts his Christianist corporatism before decency and practicality. It’s why he’s clings to reckless tax cuts that even other Republicans think went too far.
Like Teresa, Brownback puts dogma before people.