Steve Newton at Delaware Libertarian has begun a must read series about whether Karen Weldin Stewart’s favorite company Highmark is trying to build a monopoly for MedExpress in Delaware:
[T]he current incestuous relationship between Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and MexExpress urgent care clinics is a classic example of government utterly failing at “regulating” a market.
To begin with, let’s go back and recall that Senator Patti Blevins and Insurance Commissioner Karin Weldin Stewart teamed up to exempt Highmark from the Attorney General’s authority to require the insurance company to set aside $175 million in reserves for a foundation to benefit taxpayers.
This was Highmark’s condition for entering the Delaware market–$175 million plus multiple other exemptions and exceptions to existing insurance law. If you bother to go look at either Blevins’ or Stewart’s campaign donation pages at the Delaware Commissioner of Elections page, and you take the 2-3 hours necessary to trace down the bewildering array of PACs and healthcare related donations that each woman received in 2012, you will discover that they were well compensated for screwing Delaware taxpayers out of $175 million.
Next, you need to recognize that Highmark holds a $51+ million stake in MedExpress urgent care clinics. To put it as clearly as open sources allow: Highmark holds at least a 10% ownership stake in MedExpress, probably more.
So it was no surprise that, as in Pennsylvania, when Highmark came to Delaware, MedExpress quickly followed behind. In the past year, MedExpress has dumped FOUR new clinics into New Castle County, and is (or has) added four more in Kent and Sussex. These new clinics arrived with tens of thousands of dollars worth of smaltzy advertising about “your new neighbor.”
Here are the harsh realities: the arrival of MedExpress is only the FIRST STEP in a tried and true Highmark business model for vertical integration. Basically, the plan involves four steps…
Go to Delaware Libertarian and read on. Great work, Steve.
Elizabeth Scheinberg at Children & Educators First has an infuriating post up about the famed, or infamous, lobbyist Roger Roy and his interference in the planning for the William Cooke Elementary School in the Red Clay School District.
While no party has been successful in delaying the new school’s construction, recent activity in the hallowed halls of Dover have pushed the future William Cooke Elementary front and center into the public consciousness – not for its furtherance [of] the segregation of poor students from affluent ones, but because ONE VERY POWERFUL DOVER LOBBYIST managed to convince legislators that the project should not be bound by the construction requirements that were in place when the county initially approved the project. […]
Red Clay, apparently through no fault of their own – the district denies engaging Roger Roy as their lobbyist and Roy openly admits that he received no payment for his “work” on the district’s behalf – has become the latest poster child for the growth and planning problems plaguing the County Executive, County Land Use, and Del DOT.
Uh huh. Sure. Right.
Here is a shock, the wonderous conservatives at Delaware Politics (this time Christine O’Donnell’s own (former) lawyer, Jonathan Moseley) oppose immigration reform. He thinks passing it will lead to the GOP’s destruction. Well, not passing it will guarantee there will never again be a Republican President, so maybe he and they are content with just being a Congressional Party for the next four generations.
Meanwhile, David Anderson has a problem with House Minority Leader Dan Short (R):
State law allows you to file for more than one ballot position. It is rarely done except by third parties, but VP Biden did it when he ran for Senate and VP. Some lawmakers want to change it, but not for federal offices, only state offices. Why? Is there some voter outcry? No, to protect Democrat[ic] incumbents from the Republican bench.
Hahahaha. What Republican bench? Anderson continues…
In that way, it would eliminate safe seat house members and [Senators who are up for election the same year that another state office they want to run for]. The impetus for this bill seems to be Senator Bonini[,] who almost won State Treasurer but was specifically put in the 2014 cycle and given a 2 year seat this time so he would be up the year the Treasurer is up for reelection. Gamesmanship indeed, but that is nothing but smart politics. Changing the rules like HB 159 does, is not legitimate.
Well, first, I do not believe the Democratic Leadership in the Senate can determine when Bonini will be up for election. If I am not mistaken, the two classes of Senators (i.e one class gets elected in 2006 and serves until 2010 and one gets elected in 2008 and serves until 2012) rotate who goes up for
the two year term after the first election after the census. But facts do not ever get in the way of a Republican argument. So Anderson is against this bill for his obvious Bonini reasons. Why is he upset with Danny Short? For this quote, from Delaware Grapevine:
“It made good sense on the merits. Colin Bonini probably would prefer that bill not be passed. It wasn’t anything about Colin Bonini. It wasn’t anything about Joe Biden. It really was a non-political discussion about what’s the best thing for Delaware,” Short said.
Ok. Well, Short is actually right, there are non-political reasons for this bill. Imagine what happens if Bonini does run for both offices (Treasurer and his Senate seat) and actually wins both. Hell, he almost did last time. He would have to resign his Senate seat, which means under Delaware law there has to be special election, which is costly. On the federal level, as in the Biden VP example, the Governor appoints a replacement to serve until the next general election. So maybe Bonini can actually chose what he wants to do this time.
Here is the Matusiewicz Indictment from the News Journal.
Nancy Willing at Delaware Way reports on the ADA opening up its first local chapter in Delaware, Pacem in Terris planning a trip down to DC for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, where it was recently announced this week that President Obama will be speaking where Dr. King spoke 50 years ago, and she has more on the whole resignation of Newark Mayor Vance Funk over the whole anti-Wawa incident.
I also trust and turn to Nancy for New Castle County news, and she comes through again with stories on the new DelDOT Traffic impact study for the Red Clay school district:
I will focus on this quote from DelDOT’s Drew Boyce [in the News Journal Article on this story]:
DelDOT Planning Director Drew Boyce said the new traffic study is more fair to Red Clay. The original one would have forced the district to fix intersections that are mostly clogged because of poor land-use decisions in the past.
[...]“The old way, you have one car going through an already failing intersection, all the problems caused in the past are placed on the shoulder of folks who are moving forward in the future,” Boyce said. “We’re trying to make the new applicant obligated to fix only what they’re accountable for.”
Arrrrrgh! DelDOT can’t sit back and talk about poor land use decisions “in the past” without owning them too, each and every one of them.
A DelDOT Letter of No Objection accompanies every single project given an occupancy permit in New Castle County, in case they’ve forgotten. It wasn’t that long ago that Hockessin was nothing but farms.
She also has a story on Stoltz appealing the zoning decision on the redevelopment of Barley Mill to the Delaware Supreme Court.
Kavips has some educational charts you have to see, and he finds that the achievement gap between the rich and the poor in education testing is widening and Common Core and the Race to the Top are ignoring it.