Caribou Ken Sues the Feds!

06/20/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

My dears, sadly Caribou Barbie has been replaced with Caribou Ken.

Tuesday, Governor Sean Parnell and Attorney General Dan Sullivan announced plans to sue the federal government over health care reform.

Every GOP/Republican dog whistle was blown during the press conference. Parnell was partisan, pathetic and pure pander. Governor Parnell had a personal feeling the health care bill was unconstitutional and had the department of law look it over. "This is not about health care. It's a battle for freedom." He stated the federal government "is taking our freedoms".

He had no choice; the government could decide to mandate we "all buy gym memberships to fight obesity" or force us to buy GM cars. He claimed to protect "liberty interests". Huh? He won't "trade freedom for health care". Really? Easy to say when you have state paid health insurance for you and your family.

My favorite bite of this Parnell word salad? "It's time for us to breathe again, and deeply, of this American air rather than labor like colonists for an individual mandate." Oh, good, Palin's speech writer has a back-up job.

Parnell equated himself to the founding fathers fighting for freedom, but in July, 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen" into law. It authorized the creation of a marine hospital service, and mandated privately employed sailors to purchase health care insurance. Its passage created America's first payroll tax. Ship owners were required to deduct 20 cents from each sailor's monthly salary and provide proof of those receipts to the service, which in turn provided ailing sailors hospital care. A 100 dollar fine was levied on any violating owner, or ship's captain for failure to comply. Using the Production Worker Compensation Calculator the translation to 2009 would be an imposed fine of $72,600. Ouch! Seems worse than a public flogging.

Perhaps Attorney General Dan Sullivan could amend Alaska's lawsuit to conform to the 1798 precedent. Does Sean Parnell think Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison didn't know the limits of the Constitution? This law of mandated insurance was from the same Congress and President who signed unanimously the Treaty of Tripoli June 7, 1797. Article 11 stated, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

OMG, our founding fathers mandated insurance AND said we weren't founded on the Christian religion? This is getting awkward. This may be an indicator that Parnell and Sarah Palin could have been US History study partners.

Well, 1798 was a long time ago. In 1993, Sean Parnell was a state representative. I have looked high and low for his outrage and response to a Republican bill co-sponsored by Senator Ted Stevens. In November, 1993, Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I., introduced what was considered to be one of the main Republican health overhaul proposals: "A bill to provide comprehensive reform of the health care system of the United States" that MANDATED HEALTH INSURANCE. So, Uncle Ted Stevens and the Republican party were trying to take away our freedoms? Well, where were you, Sean? Why didn't you speak up then? Oh, wait. You weren't running for governor.

In October of 2007, Sean Parnell endorsed to Governor Mitt Romney. "I am supporting Governor Romney because his record shows that he can improve America." Wow, is the mandated health care that Romney ushered in during his governorship of Massachusetts "improving America?" Parnell went on, "Additionally, he earned respect by keeping government spending under control as Governor of Massachusetts." What? How could Parnell support a man who killed the "liberty interests" of his own citizens?

Quite a day for the "Wish-I-Were-an-ELECTED Governor" Parnell. He basically called the founding fathers "unconstitutional"; accused Senator Ted Stevens and company of "taking away our freedoms" in 1993, and must now be horrified he endorsed candidate Romney after Romney implemented legislation that enslaved the fine folks of Massachusetts! What would Parnell say about the Bush Administration spending almost a billion dollars to implement universal heath Iraq?

Senator Mark Begich (D) added an amendment to the recently enacted federal health care reform bill allowing states to provide grants to medical providers who treat Medicare patients. State Representatives Les Gara, (D) and Lindsey Holmes, (D) joined State Senator Hollis French (D) in a letter urging Governor Parnell to act quickly to help more Alaskans have access to Medicare.


Sean Parnell's solution to making health care accessible to Alaskans? Another task force.

He had a much better option than a lawsuit. He had the option to be a leader.

The health care bill signed by President Obama last month gave governors a way out. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) included an amendment titled "Empowering States to be Innovative." Translation? If you don't like the federal bill, INVENT YOUR OWN! Yep! Ta-da! Not only that, but the shiny, new state plan DOESN'T HAVE TO HAVE A MANDATE!

Senator Wyden told Sam Stein, "Why would you just say you are going to sue everybody, when this bill gives you the authority and the legal counsel is on record as saying you can do it without an individual mandate?" Good question. Why would you waste money suing instead of coming up with a solution for the citizens of your state?

Did Attorney General Dan Sullivan bother to even Google the health care bill?
If the state of Alaska had our own system for affordable health care, we'd be thrilled. A special summer legislative session to figure out how Alaskans could do better would need true leadership. We'd be on the map for something other than a spokesmodel with a Bumpit for brains and a whiny default governor with no solutions.
After the string of Tea Party bumper sticker slogans, the governor was asked how much he expected the state to spend on the lawsuit. He said he didn't know. Sean, when you put something in the shopping cart that you aren't paying for, you should know what it's going to cost...or put it back on the shelf.

[photo of Sean Parnell at the Anchorage Governor's picnic 2009]