Senator Kirk's $150 million Obamacare loan

GOP Sen. Mark Kirk is hard at-work helping an untested Illinois co-op get a $150 million federal healthcare loan. Why? Photo: AP

CHICAGO, Illinois October 18, 2012 - Since his stroke earlier this year, many have had Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois in their prayers.

Having a stroke humanizes you; it makes you vulnerable.

My mother had a stroke about six years ago and I remember the nights of worry and the trying days helping her through her rehabilitation.

Having a stroke also insulates you from justifiable condemnation. But that period of insulation can only last so long – especially in politics.

A Chicago business newspaperreported this week that Kirk is flexing his political muscle to secure $150 million in federal loans for SimpleHX, an untested Chicago-based healthcare organization vying to establish Illinois’ first federally-mandated Obamacare co-op.

Earlier this summer, Illinois state GOP leaders helped push through Democrat legislation to implement Obamacare two years ahead of schedule in the cash-strapped state.  

Obamacare signed into law. SOURCE: AP

The first term senator joins a list of Democratic political heavy weights backing this unusual healthcare funding flex, including Sen. Dick Durbin, Gov. Pat Quinn, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, and Rep. Mike Quigley.

All have written strong letters of political support for SimpleHX.

Aside from this strange alliance, there is good reason here for all the red warning flags: the SimpleHX co-op was hastily formed by a group of Northwestern students who met only last year while pursuing their MBAs.

According to Crains, SimpleHX is not the only co-op in competition for the dollars. Four other organizations are lobbying for the federal funds, including the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC), a trade group formed in 1935, made up of recognized hospital leaders in the healthcare community.   

Lacking in any track record or transparency, SimpleHX is, arguably, a high-risk candidate for this loan.  

So what is really behind this aggressive move?

Perhaps the operative question is: Who is behind this move?

Who is involved with SimpleHX that is powerful enough to command the attention of two U.S. Senators, a sitting governor, and two Democrat U.S. congressmen?

Who are SimpleHX’s board members and what are their alliances? Who will benefit if this co-op receives the state’s only multi-million dollar loan? Have they applied for these federal co-op loans in other states?

These are the questions that Sen. Mark Kirk and Sen. Dick Durbin should be answering.

These federal loans are already high-risk. The Department of Health and Human Services predicts that 40% of the loans will fail and may limit recipients to only one loan per state.

In this political election year, the GOP’s message is one of fiscal accountability but Sen. Kirk apparently hasn’t gotten the memo.

Last month, Kirk was listed as one of the most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Both he and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) received dishonorable mentions.

Schock was rapped for directly soliciting $25,000 from House Minority Leader Eric Cantor to help his guy pal Rep. Adam Kinzinger defeat Don Manzullo – a move many say violates FEC law. CREW also called Schock out for using his campaign account to pay for P90X workout tapes and stays at five-star hotels in Athens.

The group called out Kirk for sponsoring legislation benefitting his girlfriend’s non-profit clients that allowed them to issue commemorative coins – valued at $2 million for each client.

Let’s just say that I’m saying a prayer for Mark Kirk.

But it’s not because of his stroke. 


William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and He is a native from Chicago’s Southside.

Email questions to him at Find him on Facebook/Williamjpkelly 

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William Kelly


Conservative commentator, satirist, and radio talk show host William J. Kelly pens the “Kelly Truth Squad” and “The Tea Party Report” for the Washington Times Communities and is a contributor to the American Spectator and Kelly is also a producer of Emmy award-winning TV and received an Emmy nomination himself for outstanding achievement on-camera. He was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, a taxpayer watchdog group. He is a native of Chicago’s South side. For more information, visit

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