Weh gets a present of 30,000 cancelled health care policies

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By Harold Morgan

Allen Weh got 30,000 presents the other day from President Barack Obama. Weh is the Republican candidate for the United States Senate, trying to unseat incumbent Tom Udall. Weh is given no chance by the experts.
Remember the president’s oft-repeated claim about the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
The presents were the 30,000 New Mexicans who got a notice that their plans will end Jan. 1, 2015, because of not meeting health act requirements. Most are now with Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico with the rest covered by Presbyterian Health Plan. I assume the lucky group chose their current plan for a variety of individual reasons as opposed to government mandate.
While Weh has generally attacked Udall’s support of the health care act, the 30,000 sounds like a present to me because they are real people hurt by the lie of the claim about keeping “your plan.” Effective candidates are supposed to talk about things that touch real people. The 30,000 bring the health care act’s troubles into the real world of individual New Mexicans.
Finding some of those 30,000 and putting them in ads seems an obvious way bring the Obamacare effect home to New Mexicans. Of course, I’m hardly a campaign strategy rocket scientist.
Udall has long been considered one of the Senate’s serious lefties. Recently he flaunted an ideological soul mate with a story co-authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s “self-proclaimed socialist” (The Guardian). Further demonstration of Udall’s bona fides came when he brought Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, progressive darling (and Oklahoma native) to Albuquerque’s Nob Hill enclave.
From the perspective of perhaps 30 years of totally casual acquaintance, it’s fair to say Udall is a decent fellow. We last did small talk about three years ago at the Santa Fe farmers market. Udall, wearing ball cap and cargo shorts, and his wife, Jill Cooper, were wandering around.
I interviewed Udall once. It was in the spring of 2008. I asked Udall and Rep. Steve Pearce about “the American Idea.” Pearce responded at length and with enthusiasm. Udall, oddly to me, had little to say. When Udall finished, I thought, “That’s all?” I padded Udall’s response so it would not appear I had shorted him in comparison to Pearce’s space consuming response. The interview didn’t matter. Udall trounced Pearce in the general election and now seeks a second term.
Udall’s 2014 “accomplishment” has gotten little attention in New Mexico. He drafted and sponsored a constitutional amendment that, as U.S. News, hardly a right wing publication, put it, would “gut the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution like a fish and serve it up, filleted and de-boned to his buddies in organized labor, the environmental movement and other so-called progressives who have recently discovered how inconvenient a level playing field is to their political wants and desires.”
Even the ACLU opposes the amendment. To me the amendment seems bizarre and dangerous.
Weh attacked the proposal under the “tomfoolery” framework he was using a few months ago. (Yes, it took me a while to get the attempted pun — “tom,” as in Tom Udall; “fool,” as in Udall is a fool.) Fortunately, Weh has abandoned the tomfoolery bit.
Meanwhile Udall and Sen. Martin Heinrich keep on strengthening that ole government dependence. An Oct. 6 joint release announced that $550,750 would be divvied among the nine agricultural efforts “to expand access to fruits and vegetables.” Silly me, I thought one had a garden or went to the store, or farmers market for fruits and veggies without recourse to the government.