A considerable amount of public policy is made after legislation is passed.  Much of it is even made outside of the legislative process altogether.  This post concerns the following two cases in point:  (1) the permitting process for an 895-megawatt power plant in Southwestern Kansas, and (2) regulations pertaining to recently passed health care reform (The Affordable Care Act).  Citizens have a right to be involved in these administrative policy making processes!


 In spite of its unpopularity with Kansas citizens, the Governor has cut a deal with Sunflower Electric to proceed with the permitting process for a dirty, water-wasting, 895-megawatt, power plant.  The only thing this plant will do for Kansas is create some jobs for out-of-state construction workers as well as some permanent jobs for one small part of Kansas, i.e., Garden City.

The rest of the state will reap air pollution and loss of precious water in the Ogallala Aquifer.  None of the power will be generated for the use of Kansans.  So the consequence for most of the state is environmental devastation.

Sunflower Electric, which started as a much needed REA farmer-rancher cooperative, will be able to build an empire.  The advantages to the management of this growth-for-the-sake-of-growth power producer include bigger jobs and more pay.

The permitting process requires public hearings and citizen comments.  According to the Lawrence Journal World on July 24th, “Of 204 comments received by KDHE so far, all but 10 favored the project.”  A large portion of these “favorable comments” came on preprinted post cards submitted by out-of-state construction workers.  This is the way it works.  Powerful companies and unions with a vested financial interest in a project but with absolutely no interest in environmental impact put their considerable resources into overwhelming the administrative process.  We can do the same!  Send your comments to:


                Or, with a postmark no later than August 15, write to :

                Kansas Department of Health & Environment

                Bureau of Air

                Attention: Sunflower Comments

                1000 SW Jackson

                Suite 310

                Topeka, KS


One major accomplishment of President Obama’s and the Democrats’ health care reform effort (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was inclusion of a provision that requires insurers to spend at least 85% of your premium dollars on “quality health care” (80% in individual and small markets).  This provision serves one purpose:  to prevent the lavishing of insurance dollars on dividends, salaries, bonuses, perks, and other non-patient goodies.  In other words, hard working Americans pay their premiums for a fair return in the form of services when they need them.

If an insurer’s medical loss ratio (that is what it is called) doesn’t meet the 80% or 85% criteria, the insurer must refund their excess of payout over loss (after all, it is an insurance company that should expect some losses and a fair profit).  Wall Street and the insurers do not like the 80% and 85% medical loss ratios.  They are using the opportunity to influence recently issued regulations that will determine the meaning of “quality health care.”  They want to vastly expand the term to include activities that are unrelated to treating patients.  Here is how they are doing it:

They – or rather their high paid experts – are submitting comments regarding the regulations.  For instance, the Physician Groups for Coordinated Care – a lobbying group in Washington, D.C. – argued that the term should include, “quality improvement initiatives, medical records review, evaluation of appropriate diagnoses, pharmacy treatments (including medication therapy management), clinical data collection and analysis for quality improvement purposes, care coordination activities, patient education, and many of the supporting clinical IT investments and operating expenses.”  In other words, they want the policyholder to pay for their administrative costs and for their efforts to cut their overhead.

You can read the regulations at:

You can comment on the regulations at:

To date, approximately 140 comments have been submitted by insurance industry advocates while only 20 have been submitted by consumers.  Write in and let the Secretary of HHS know that health care provided should be reasonable given the premiums paid.  If the insurers are intent on escalating premium costs while they deny treatment, charge large co-pays and deductibles, and lavish their excessive profits on management and investors, then the consumer merely absorbs excessive increases without an increase in services.