John Neely Kennedy

Monday, June 26, 2017

Senate bill would cut health care to 'hundreds of thousands' on Medicaid in Louisiana

Posted By on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 6:00 PM

  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy.

As the U.S. Senate mulls a vote on the GOP's recently released bill designed to gut the Affordable Care Act, Louisiana officials and medical groups are urging senators to consider the potentially devastating impact it could have to people relying on Medicaid's expansion in the state.

In July 2016, Gov. John Bel Edwards approved Medicaid's expansion to include coverage for more than 433,000 people in the state, including more than 100,000 receiving preventive cancer treatment and more than 15,000 women who have received breast cancer screenings. More than 150 people were diagnosed with colon cancer after screenings made possible through recent Medicaid coverage.

Today's report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the Senate's "Better Care Reconciliation Act" would increase the number of uninsured people in the U.S. by 22 million while reducing the federal deficit by $321 billion from 2017-2026 — mostly by cutting spending on Medicaid, which would decline in 2026 by 26 percent compared to projections based on current law. Medicaid would lose more than $770 billion by 2026.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Louisiana lawmakers, activists urge Sens. Cassidy and Kennedy to condemn Senate health care bill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana.

With the release of a 142-page draft early Thursday morning, the Senate finally revealed its much-anticipated (and, by many, dreaded) plan that could make good on the long-term Republican promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.

The bill's release offered the first opportunity for the public — and many underinformed senators — to view and critique the Senate's plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Before its reveal, the bill already had come under fire for an unusually secretive drafting process featuring no public hearings and little debate on the Senate floor.

Within its text: higher premiums for older people, the elimination of the individual and employer mandates (you won't have to carry insurance, and employers don't have to provide it for you), a year-long freeze on Planned Parenthood funding, fewer subsidies to help people buy insurance and cuts to federal Medicaid dollars which support the working poor, 40 percent of American children and people with disabilities. (An easy-to-read breakdown is being updated at The Washington Post.)

Throughout the state, a chorus of lawmakers, public health observers and activists have begun to speak out against this health care plan. But the power lies with Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy, who will now turn their attentions to the legislation ahead of a potential vote next week.

Perhaps due to the bill's length and complexity, they have yet to comment extensively on the bill's details. Instead, they've leaned on familiar rhetoric from the past several weeks.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

As Senate quietly drafts health care bill, Louisiana senators remain mum on its contents

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 5:00 PM

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a February town hall, where constituents peppered him with questions on health care. - CHERYL GERBER
  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a February town hall, where constituents peppered him with questions on health care.

In March, a group of doctors and nurses — some in scrubs and lab coats — second-lined their way down Basin Street, rallying behind the imperiled Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. There were demonstrations at congressional offices and die-ins; many citizens came forward to tell their personal health stories and explain their opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the legislation meant to repeal Obamacare that passed the House May 4.

In recent weeks, and as the bill has passed to the Senate for revision and consideration, the ruckus has died down somewhat. But it's not because lawmakers have crafted a bill that appeases the public. Rather, the Senate has offered an unusual lack of information about the drafting of the bill, in a process some observers think was designed to chill public outcry. To date, no public hearings on the bill have been held or scheduled, and as reported by The New York Times, CNN and Vox, even some Republican senators aren't sure what's in it.

Speaking to CNN, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expressed her confusion — and frustration.

"I have no idea if we even have a bill," she said. "I learned more from you all in this conversation that there may have, in fact, have been [a draft bill] submitted to CBO (Congressional Budget Office), but if that's the case, I don't know what it is nor what it says."

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Reactions to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 1:07 PM

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip.
  • U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip.

This morning's shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others at a Congressional baseball game in Virginia drew quick responses from Louisiana and national lawmakers, as well as representatives of Republican and Democratic groups:

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy:
As we wait for facts to be learned, Louisiana lifts up in prayer Congressman Steve Scalise and his family. Reports say he is in stable condition. Please continue to keep him and all those injured in your prayers.

U. S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy
“Steve is a good friend, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Hating people because you disagree with them is wrong. It is un-Christian, it is un-American, and it has gotten worse. My thoughts right now are with Steve, his family, the aide who was shot, and the Capitol Police officers. It is just a bad day for America.”

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond:
I am saddened by the horrific news from GOP baseball practice. My prayers are with my colleague Congressman Steve Scalise, the Capitol police officers, and staff.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Editorial: Anybody here seen our old friend John (Kennedy)?

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 2:20 PM

  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

Shortly after taking office in January, U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy told The New York Times, “There’s this feeling among many in America that it’s harder than ever to get ahead in our country, that it’s easier than ever to do nothing. There’s a feeling that the people in Washington don’t listen and they don’t care. ... And they want something done about it. They’re entitled to be listened to and heard.”

We agree, which is why we’re puzzled that it’s so difficult for constituents to catch Kennedy’s ear these days. Consider this:
During Senate recesses in February and April, Kennedy held no town hall meetings in Louisiana — unlike Sen. Bill Cassidy, who met constituents (and braved some fury) in Metairie in February. Unhappy with Kennedy’s seeming unwillingness to meet the public, constituents held a protest on the steps of the Hale Boggs Federal Building in March (with Kennedy’s face on a “missing” milk carton) and another in April at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, where voters asked questions of an effigy of the senator. A similar gathering was held in Baton Rouge on the LSU campus that month.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sen. John Neely Kennedy calls for work requirement for many Medicaid recipients

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM

  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

Calling Medicaid a "Sharknado-sized health insurance program for 20 percent of
Americans," Sen. John Neely Kennedy wrote in an opinion column today he would be filing legislation called the “Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017," which would require "able-bodied adult enrollees" without dependents to work, go to school or perform community service for 20 hours a week in order to receive Medicaid health benefits:
My bill is a common sense approach to reducing America's reliance on entitlement programs. Its Medicaid work requirement is similar to the current work requirement for food stamps: Adults between the ages of 18 and 55, who have no dependents and are not disabled, must spend 20 hours a week working in a job, going to school or doing community service in order to continue to receive free health care through Medicaid. I believe there is a close correlation between getting up in the morning and getting ahead in the world. Our goal should be to get people off Medicaid because they can afford their own health insurance. I don’t want to take Medicaid away from people in need. I do want fewer people to need Medicaid. 
Later in the column, Kennedy mentioned the problems of unemployed oil patch workers and Louisiana flood victims, but stopped short of exempting them from the work requirement:

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Y@ Speak: taking them down, part 3

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 7:10 PM

This week: The lingering sunscreen fog of Jazz Fest dads, a monument to the specter of slavery gets yellow suspenders and a green bubble wrap diaper, and a ton of people roasted it completely. Also, Sen. John Kennedy got some embarrassing national attention.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

'Citizens' town hall' takes another dig at Sen. John Neely Kennedy

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:35 PM


The questions fell like hail on the impassive white face of a cardboard cutout meant to represent Sen. John Neely Kennedy, who was not present for a "citizen's town hall" hosted April 19 at First Unitarian Universalist Church by the New Orleans and Metairie chapters of progressive organization Indivisible.

At the event, which was meant to spotlight a perceived lack of responsiveness from the Louisiana freshman senator's office, speakers took the mic to pose inquiries to the mock Kennedy, who rested opaquely in a cardboard "office" reminiscent of Lucy's psychiatric clinic in the "Charlie Brown" comics.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Editorial: These Louisiana politicians just sold out your online privacy

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 12:28 PM


While the chatter in Washington D.C. last week focused on the failed GOP health care plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, a much quieter — but equally egregious — repeal-and-replace bill moved through the U.S. Senate along party lines. By a 50-48 vote, Senate Republicans overturned internet privacy laws adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the last days of President Barack Obama’s administration. On March 28, the House of Representatives voted 215-205 to follow the Senate’s lead, and President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign the measure.

What does this mean for you? Simply put, your internet service provider now may legally track your every online move, collect the data, and sell it — including financial and health information, location and other data.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Editorial: 'Obamacare sucks'? No, what really sucks is ...

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 12:01 PM

At a town hall in Metairie last month, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy attempted to explain his proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which he called the "Patient Freedom Act." This week, he expressed disappointment with the GOP's proposed American Health Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million next year. - CHERYL GERBER
  • At a town hall in Metairie last month, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy attempted to explain his proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which he called the "Patient Freedom Act." This week, he expressed disappointment with the GOP's proposed American Health Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million next year.

“I don’t mean any disrespect, but Obamacare sucks,” said U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy last fall, back when he was making folksy commercials to promote his Senate candidacy.

Of course, not having health insurance sucks, too. Receiving health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicaid expansion, only to have it snatched away? Sucks. Massive premium hikes for the elderly? Sucks. Not getting the health care you need, being forced to use emergency rooms for basic treatment, and having to choose bankruptcy if you want to stay alive? Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

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