Bad weather and Obamacare

Friday, May 5, 2017

Since my last set of ponderings, itís been topsy turvy hasnít it? Last Sunday morning I drove over to Cotton Plant and was reminded again the choke hold Mother Nature can lay on you. I was thinking, Ďthis had to be a tornado.í It was Ė an EF1. Keep in mind that is a low rung on the tornado classification ladder. All I can say is Iíd hate to see an EF2. Kennett was fortunate; all we had was the usual water issues.

Then thereís the flooding. Once again Kennett was blessed, but folks just up the road werenít as lucky. As Iím writing this column (Thursday), there are still dozens of roads closed in southeast Missouri. The flooding has been awful for areas like Pocahontas, Ark., Poplar Bluff, Doniphan Ė to name just three places. It will take people affected by the tornados and flooding a long time to get their lives back to some semblance of normal.

As I was listening to the scanner during the storm last Sunday morning, I was reminded that a lot of people were out watching the storms, responding to emergencies, preparing just in case the worst happened, and cleaning up after the storm was over.

All of those folks, in every town around here, do that for two reasons Ė to keep people safe and to help people who find themselves in harmís way. I want to take a moment in this column today to say thanks for what you do.

The tornado that hit south Dunklin County should remind all of us to have a severe weather plan. Jeff Dorrisí article in Thursdayís Dunklin Democrat has a lot of good tips in it. Itís always a good idea to have a good weather app on your phone that can alert you. You can register on our website, dddnews.com, for text alerts of breaking weather warnings. A weather radio is a good idea.

You should be aggravated with the Missouri Senate. It seems dysfunctional. For several weeks, senators have been bogged down due to reported discord over the state budget. A budget is being finalized to send to Governor Greitens. Perhaps in the last week of the session some movement can happen on other issues like ethics. Lawmakers are sent to Jefferson City to get things done on behalf of the people. Iím not sure theyíve accomplished that much for us this time around.

I think the Kennett City Council did the right thing Tuesday night and abolished the Department of Public Safety and reverted to separate police and fire departments. As stated by the Council at the last meeting in April, it just never did really work. I think it was a good idea to try it, but sometimes itís better to cut your losses, drop back and punt. I applaud the Councilís decision.

By the way, and I know this is useless to bring up Ė instead of a director of public safety, I still think we need a city manager. We need someone at City Hall who can make unilateral decisions and is the point man/woman for all things Kennett. Committees made up of part time council members are not the way to administer the city. That system is well past its expiration date. I guess Iíll see that at the same time I see 412 four-laned to the Arkansas line.

The U.S. House finally voted on a bill that takes a major step toward dismantling Obamacare. As reported by the Associated Press, the bill would eliminate tax penalties in Obamaís law which has clamped down on people who donít buy coverage, and it erases tax increases in the Affordable Care Act on higher-earning people and the health industry. It cuts the Medicaid program for low-income people and lets states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. It transforms Obamaís subsidies for millions buying insurance ó largely based on peopleís incomes and premium costs ó into tax credits that rise with consumersí ages. It would retain Obamaís requirement that family policies cover grown children until age 26.

The wrangling will continue in the Senate, no doubt, and changes are a coming to the House bill, but President Trump and the House GOP leadership won a big political battle.

Hereís my pondering on all this. I guess Iím more Libertarian than anything else. In my short span on this earth Iíve learned that most things the federal government touches turns to coal rather to gold. The less government the better, and it has no business being in the health care business.

Until next week . . .

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