Not Exactly Unexpected

United States of Koch

We ought not be surprised:

Several big corporations have reaped millions of dollars from “Obamacare” even as they support GOP candidates who vow to repeal the law. This condemn-while-benefiting strategy angers Democrats, who see some of their top congressional candidates struggling against waves of anti-Obamacare ads partly funded by these companies.

Among the corporations is a familiar Democratic nemesis, Koch Industries, the giant conglomerate headed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. They and some conservative allies are spending millions of dollars to hammer Democratic senators in North Carolina, Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and elsewhere, chiefly for backing President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., renewed his criticisms of the Kochs this week. In a Senate chamber speech, Reid noted that Koch Industries benefited from a temporary provision of the health care law ….

…. When Congress enacted the health care law in 2010, it appropriated $5 billion for the temporary reinsurance program. The goal was to subsidize employers’ costs for workers who retire before they become eligible for Medicare. Hundreds of employers applied – many were corporations, cities and public universities – and virtually all the money was soon distributed.

“If the Affordable Care Act is so awful,” Reid asked, “why did Koch Industries use it to their advantage?”

Federal records show that Koch Industries received $1.4 million in early retiree subsidies. That’s considerably less than the sums many other employers received. A Koch Industries spokesman said he had no comment on Reid’s latest criticisms.

(Babington)

It’s just one of those things that seems to happen. You know, at the intersection of capitalism, politics, and empty morality.

To the one, the Koch brothers aren’t alone, but for the most part, corporations noted in Charles Babington’s report for the Associated Press might have asked for and received benefits under the program, but “steer most of their political donations to Republicans”. United Parcel Service, Union Pacific, CSX, Altria Client Services, AT&T, as well as pharma, defense, and accounting firms, among others.

What distinguishes Koch Industries among its fellows is probably the degree of cynicism. That is to say, having claimed $1.4 million from this provision of the ACA—

The Kochs and their allies show little sheepishness about denouncing a federal health law that benefited them. In fact, the Koch-related group FreedomPartners is spending more than $1 million on ads criticizing Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado and Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa, Democrats running in tight Senate races.

Their alleged wrongdoing? Accepting campaign donations from health companies that benefit from “Obamacare.”

Yeah. You know. Just one of those things that just … sort of … you know, happens. There really isn’t anything unexpected about such behavior among capitalists, is there?

____________________

Babington, Charles. “Many ‘Obamacare’ Critics Accepted Its Subsidies”. Associated Press. April 8, 2014.

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