For Larry Hogan, Karma Can Be Tough To Face

While I am a firm believer in free will, as opposed to determinism or the belief that some mythological figure can control the minutia of the daily lives of a few billion humans, not to mention billions more animals, not to mention respond to a few billion daily requests for free stuff (you know, like the gop says the Democratic base only exists to ask for and receive), I do think that maybe karma can have an effect on how personal choices, unintended consequences, and what can best be described as the luck of the draw, turn out in the end. Accordingly, we have instances of the actions and consequences of the actions of public figures to examine and evaluate in light of all this. Today we have a striking example in the persona of the republican governor of Maryland, one Larry Hogan.

Hogan was elected to that state's highest office last November, following the tenure of the prior governor, progressive Democrat Martin O'Malley. It was Hogan's first election to public office, and his biggest prior claim to fame had been the fact that he had worked for former congressman John Rousselot during Rousselot's tenure in Congress in the late
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1970s. Rousselot of course is most remembered as being the public relations voice of the John Birch Society for many years, when he served as their Western Regional Director. As one would think, once Hogan took office, his extreme right wing agenda took center stage*. A big part of this was to do whatever damage he could do to the Affordable Care Act and its Maryland medicaid program.

O’Malley had seen to it that Maryland was a full participant in providing the benefits created by the ACA to state residents, including the setting up of a state insurance exchange and medicaid expansion, which as a result increased its Maryland enrollment by 400,000. So, acting alone in a state with a legislature that is solidly in Democratic control, Hogan did not have the ability to terminate either program, but, when it came time to submit a new state budget, he could hinder the utilization of ACA benefits to as many Maryland residents as possible, and of course centered on those least able to cope, the young, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, those dependent on their new-found access to very often long-needed medical care through medicaid.

His first state budget proposed a cut of $160 Million to the medicaid program, which meant massive cuts to payments to health care providers who accepted medicaid. Maryland medicaid reimbursement rates had been substantially lower than those for Medicare and former governor O’Malley saw to it that medicaid rates were raised to the Medicare level. As a result, according to MedChi, the state’s medical society, almost one-half of the state’s doctors who previously refused to accept medicaid patients began doing so, and two-thirds of those who did to a limited degree increased the numbers of such patients. The budget ultimately passed gives Hogan considerable discretion as to much of medicaid’s continued funding.

And now, enter Karma. Yesterday, Hogan revealed that he has been diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma, a very advanced and aggressive form of cancer. In his statement he said that he missed numerous meetings and was otherwise absent from work over a two week period while undergoing numerous tests and then outlining treatment options and procedures. He further
outlined a pending hospital stay and lengthy course of chemotherapy, to be likely followed by surgery and/or radiation therapy.

How many of the more than one-half million Maryland residents dependent on medicaid for health care would have been able to take off work for two weeks? If Maryland doctors, faced with substantial cuts to their fees stopped seeing medicaid patients, could any of those patients have obtained any or all of the extensive tests that Hogan underwent and could they have realistically have “outlined” a similar course of treatment that could have been provided to them?

Hogan did not care one little bit about the people of his state when he took office and in effect began cutting medical care for the most needy of Maryland residents. Now, he’s the needy one, but he has as much time off from work as he needs, and access to the best available medical care.

And let the public be damned. Isn’t karma great?

[Also, recent significant increases in the incidence of lymphoma have been related to environmental pollutants. “Environmental and Behavioral Factors and the Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma”]

*His first and immediate acts were to rescind wide-ranging environmental regulations that gave the coal industry free reign to pollute the air and the Chesapeake Bay, and he voided hard-fought anti-discrimination regulations that protected LGBT Marylanders from healthcare and employment discrimination. Next on his list were education and healthcare cuts. “New Maryland Governor Opens an Assault on Environmental and LGBT Protections”

About theHoundDawg

For many years as a lawyer, I saw much of the good and bad of society, and did what I could to right many wrongs. The lack of understanding of what is good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, as evidenced by such events as the election of King W as president, (who as such far surpassed the evil of richard nixon but not quite that of ronald reagan) lead me in a new direction, to spend my time trying to understand what is happening to our society, to try as best I can to spread my insights to others, and along the way to maybe even eke out a living through the internet.
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