A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

4 May 2017 — 0716 mdt

Get medical treatment now while you still have health insurance

If you’ve been putting off elective surgery, schedule it now, while you still have health insurance. The U.S. House is voting today on the latest iteration of the Ryan-Trump bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The repealer is a Devil’s Christmas tree, festooned with toxic tinsel, radioactive ornaments, policy bombs, and naked bribes. As Kevin Drum notes at Mother Jones, there’s no text, no CBO score, etc:

This is a depraved piece of legislation. It’s a windfall for the rich and promises nothing but misery for the poor. How is it possible that 90 percent of House Republicans are happily voting in favor of this moral abomination?

It’s possible because these legislators don’t give a damn whether poor people live or die. If this bill fails, Trump and Ryan will cobble together another bill, and another, until something, anything, passes. Then the U.S. Senate will be on the spot — and the Senate will pass some kind of repeal bill. If you need a triple-bypass, get it now while you can still pay for it.

$200k cut to CSKT Compact implementation emits unpleasant aroma

Gov. Steve Bullock invested considerable time and political capital to get the CSKT Water Compact approved by the Montana Legislature. The agreement, still awaiting Congressional approval, places certain implementation obligations on Montana, according to DNRC Director John Tubbs. Reports Lee reporter Jayme Fraser:

[Tubbs] said the work … includes flow monitoring of all the streams on the Flathead Reservation so the department will have accurate usage and flow data to support aspects of the CSKT Compact.

But the money to pay for it, a $200,000 appropriation for the Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission, was removed from the budget last week by a bipartisan committee because it was thought wrongly that it wasn’t needed.

[Bullock’s budget director, Dan] Villa also did not specify where the original idea started and did not answer a question about when it became apparent the proposed cut would jeopardize the Compact Implementation Technical Team. Other members of the conference committee who approved the cut after less than two minutes discussion also echoed Ballance and said they did not know the money paid for anything more than commission meetings.

Tubbs said it was adequately explained when the cut had first been suggested. He said it should have been obvious that the reduction would affect operations simply because the dollar amount was so large. Meetings of the commission were cheap, just a few thousand dollars a year to cover travel and hotel rooms.

This affair has a stinkwater aroma to it. Someone knew what was happening. Therefore, everyone’s “Gee willikers, how did that happen?” means someone is lying.

After investing so much in getting the compact passed, it’s inconceivable that Bullock ignored the need to fund implementation and the obligations to which the compact obligates Montana. Those obligations will be met by messing around with the DNRC’s funding, so the failure to appropriate the $200,000 amounts to a de facto cut to the DNRC’s budget.

Why would Bullock, or Villa acting on Bullock’s behalf, accept that backdoor cut? Most likely to protect a $200,000 pot of money for other purposes. Less likely, but still possible, B & V relaxed their guard, letting Ballance sneak one past them.

Someone needs to step forward with the truth.