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OPINION

One North Carolina Republican Teaming up with Liberals to Save Obamacare

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

If I told you there was something that some liberals and I actually agreed on, your first instinct would be to tell me that I lost my mind, right?  Maybe.

Liberals and conservatives don’t like cronyism and they team up for the idea of open government and transparency. The fact that the people in power of both parties tend to use government power in a way to help themselves in a way that hurts the constituents of a state.  

Look at the examples during the Obama Administration of cronyism in energy policy that ended up creating a boondoggle for taxpayers called Solyndra. Remember that company cost the taxpayer about $889 million?  That was only the tip of the taxpayer iceberg.

The Washington Times reported on April 27, 2015 that “taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government’s energy loan guarantee programs, according to a new audit Monday that suggests the controversial projects may not pay for themselves, as officials had promised.” The Obama energy cronyism is a great example of a lack of government transparency leading to a high cost for taxpayers.

A Republican state-Senator in North Carolina, Tommy Tucker, has thrown in with liberal cronies in North Carolina in a way that will hurt consumers of health care and hurt taxpayers.

Sen. Tommy Tucker has most recently made headlines by scheming with the Democrat governor and a handful of Obama holdouts to attack Richard Topping, the former CEO of Charlotte-based Cardinal Innovations healthcare. Topping, a George W. Bush-appointee, is generally regarded as one of the few Republicans who understand Medicaid and has been widely praised by others on the right for his innovative strategic thinking in the healthcare space, most notably in the area of how to save taxpayers money by providing Medicaid recipients with managed care health plans. 

Two weeks ago, I wrote in Townhall about the broadening Medicaid scandal instigated by North Carolina’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper. The main purpose of my piece was to highlight Cooper’s “do as I say not as I do” approach to governing.  Specifically, while chastising Topping, with the help of Sen. Tucker, for making what they deemed an excessive private-sector salary, Gov. Cooper was quietly giving his cabinet officials pay raises 50 times greater than what was approved by the State legislature.

Now, it appears that Cooper’s Medicaid scandal goes far beyond what I initially understood to be the case.  As noted by former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) in The American Spectator:

‘CMS’ is the acronym for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for managing the massive federal Medicare and Medicaid programs.  In North Carolina, an unfolding scandal with allegations of Corruption, Money and Sexual misconduct give a whole new meaning to ‘CMS.’

This is where Sen. Tucker comes in. Former Rep. Barr looked exposed that the Cooper Administration was able to deceive the citizens of North Carolina with the illusion of bipartisan support of their illegal takeover of Charlotte-based Cardinal Innovations healthcare, since Tucker is a Republican. 

However, as it turns out, Tucker had his own axe to grind with Cardinal Innovations healthcare.  

According to former Rep. Barr in the American Spectator in 1999, “Tucker served on Piedmont’s board. In December of that year, he became embroiled in allegations of sexual misconduct involving a female board member. Tucker was an elected official; the woman a local government employee.”  That may be the source of Rep. Tucker’s animus towards Cardinal Innovations and the fact that he was ended up resigning from the prior incarnation of the company “Piedmont” health care. 

The worry is that state Sen. Tucker was working with Gov. Cooper’s cabinet to use political power to punish a company that both wanted out of business for different reasons.  In the end, this cronyism hurts the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

Sen. Tucker also evidenced a distain for his own constituents when, as reported by the North Carolina based Times-News, he was involved in a political dispute over whether local governments would be allowed to shift notices from newspapers to the Internet, and he was reported to have disallowed a recorded vote on the matter and said to Hal Tanner, publisher of the Goldsboro News-Argus “I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”  Republican and Democrats, liberals and conservatives all distain politicians who use government power to self-deal and to hide decisions from constituents.

As I stated in my last commentary on Cooper and his North Carolina Medicaid scandal, our politicians should not use government service to get rich.  They shouldn’t use government service to exact pay-back.  

Usually when Democrat and Republican politicians team up, it is bad for the taxpayer and, in this case, the teaming up of a Democratic governor and a Republican state Senator will result in a lower quality of health care for North Carolina constituents.

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