The current crop of state leaders gives educators a lot of bad choices on this year’s election ballot, but one of the worst, especially for retired educators and everyone one else who values their health care, is Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Paxton, who was slapped with a criminal indictment for securities fraud shortly after taking office, has spent most of his term as the state’s chief lawyer avoiding a trial and a possible prison sentence. But he has found time to promote policies that are hurtful to educators and other everyday Texans, even as he hypocritically portrays himself as a champion of Christian values.
Perhaps his worst offense though is his effort to deprive millions of Texans and other Americans of middle-class, modest means of basic health care coverage. That is a potential end result of a lawsuit that Paxton has filed, using our tax dollars, against the federal government in still another effort to kill the Affordable Care Act.
The lawsuit, Texas v. Azar, was filed earlier this year by 20 states, and Paxton is the lead lawyer. If the suit is successful, all the protections of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, if you prefer, would be invalidated, including the provision that forbids insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions.
If Paxton is successful in destroying that consumer protection, insurance companies could resume their previous practice of charging sick people higher premiums for health coverage or denying them coverage altogether. Older Americans would be hit the hardest, but anybody who had ever suffered a heart attack or suffered from a chronic condition such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure or whatever would be affected.
To make matters worse, the Trump administration is refusing to defend the Affordable Care Act against Paxton’s suit.
“It is time that Americans are finally free from the stranglehold of Obamacare, once and for all,” Paxton said when the suit was filed.
Actually, it is time for Texans to be free of the callous piety and anti-family, anti-democratic values of Ken Paxton. Earlier this year, Paxton also misused his office to suggest falsely that it was illegal for educators to support and campaign for candidates for the Legislature and other elected offices.
Paxton is entitled to due process and his day in court, which he continues to avoid. The state of Texas also is entitled to its day in court, and every American is entitled to affordable health care.
The honorable thing for Paxton to do would be to quietly leave office and get his own legal affairs in order. But since he doesn’t plan to do that, since he intends to stay in office on straight-ticket Republican votes, the sensible thing for educators and every other Texan – Democrat, Republican or independent — who values education, health care and other important public services is to show Paxton the door on Election Day.
You can do that by voting for Paxton’s opponent, Justin Nelson. Nelson wants to serve the people of Texas, not make their lives more difficult.