Thursday, August 3, 2017

Petty, Insecure, trumpish Bevin Illegally Firing Critics

Just a reminder: it is both legal and the epitome of constitutional guarantees of free speech to criticize elected officials.  It may or may not be constitutional to falsely shout "fire" in a crowded theater, but
it is absolutely constitutional to say any terrible, insulting, devastating thing you damn well please about your governor. Even in Kentucky.

A University of Kentucky College of Dentistry faculty member has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that UK officials fired him after he publicly criticized Gov. Matt Bevin’s Medicaid waiver proposal.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Dr. Raynor Mullins of Lexington also alleges that the comments annoyed Bevin and administration officials, who pressured UK to get rid of him. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, is against Mark Birdwhistell, UK’s vice president of administration for UK HealthCare; Stephanos Kyrkanides, dean of the UK College of Dentistry; and “John Doe,” described as an official in the Bevin administration.

The lawsuit alleges that Mullins, 74, a former chair of the department of community dentistry and 40-year veteran of dental public health who also worked at the UK Center for Oral Health Research, made public comments along with four colleagues in July 2016 that were critical of the proposal to roll back parts of the Medicaid expansion made under the Affordable Care Act during former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration. At the time, Mullins was employed as emeritus faculty, via a post-retirement appointment. His attorney, Joe Childers, said that appointment did not include any tenure protection. The other signers of the comments were either retired or current tenured professors.

Bevin’s proposal — which is still under consideration by federal officials — would raise premiums and create job requirements for recipients of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which provided 400,000 people with insurance, reducing the state’s uninsured population from 20 percent to 7.5 percent. Bevin said the changes were necessary for financial sustainability.

“Our professional opinion is that the design of Kentucky Health clearly does not fulfill the states access objectives and intent of CMS Medicaid waivers or the Affordable Care Act, but instead adds additional jeopardy to the already poor oral health and general health metrics of the Kentucky population,” the comments said.


The lawsuit says that Mullins believes Bevin and/or officials in his administration “communicated their displeasure with Dr. Mullins’ public comments to Defendant Birdwhistell, and pressured Defendant Birdwhistell to retaliate against Dr. Mullins and the UK College of Dentistry.


By August, the lawsuit says, Kyrkanides had told Dr. Mullins he needed to go “off the radar” and keep a low profile. The lawsuit alleges that Kyrkanides notified other College of Dentistry officials that he got a call from the governor’s office and he had to “figure out how to get rid of Raynor Mullins.”

In January 2017, Mullins was notified that his post-retirement appointment would not be renewed with the College of Dentistry and by June, his employment was completely terminated.
What a fucking baby Bevin is. A bunch of academics write that the Governor's latest kill-the-poors plan is maybe not the world's greatest idea, and he has to retaliate.

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