To the editor:
Matthew Hisrich, from Flint Hills Center for Public Policy, wrote "that all the creative financing in the world will not transform Medicaid into a sustainable program" ("Medicaid woes," July 24 Public Forum). I believe Hisrich is suggesting that Medicaid is a failure and is a misuse of public funds, citing the return of Kansas Medicaid money as the tip of the iceberg.
Many government funded programs are not solely concerned with sustainability. Our highways are not sustainable without millions of state and federal dollars. Our roads, our food, our gas, are all subsidized and are not sustainable commodities for the individual person without subsidies.
Medicaid, like the highway system, is a partnership between the federal and state governments. Medicaid is an essential and successful federal/state program that improves the health of over 50 million Americans and is extremely cost-effective in its operation.
Without Medicaid, the 50 million Americans who are now insured, become uninsured. Where do uninsured go for health care and who pays for it? Many go to emergency rooms, and taxpayers pay 85 percent of uncompensated care, more than $40 billion a year.
If we are paying for health care one way or another, why not do it in a way that provides access to primary and preventive services that help avoid more costly interventions such as hospitalizations?
The Kansas Health Consumer Coalition is working towards improved access and affordable health care for Kansans. Medicaid is a vital part of this formula.
Laurie Dale Marshall,
director, Kansas Health