Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Brownback mum on expansion of Medicaid under federal health care reform

July 11, 2012


— Several Republican governors have said they will not expand health care coverage for the poor under the Affordable Care Act.

But while Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has been an ardent opponent of the ACA, he has not given a definitive answer on whether he would expand Medicaid, which could impact more than 150,000 Kansans.

"He will make a decision after the elections," said his spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag.

While the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld the ACA as constitutional, it ruled that the federal government couldn't penalize states that opt out of a Medicaid expansion outlined in the federal health care law.

That means states have the option of expanding coverage. Federal officials have said with the federal government picking up 100 percent of the cost for the first three years and 90 percent after that, the states should jump on board.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a former Kansas governor and state insurance commissioner, sent a letter earlier this week to governors, urging them to participate.

"Now that the Supreme Court has issued a decision, we want to work with you to achieve our ultimate shared goal of ensuring that every American has access to affordable, quality healthcare," Sebelius said.

But several Republican governors, such as Rick Perry of Texas, have told HHS they will not participate. Republicans have said the Medicaid expansion and federal subsidies under the ACA for people to purchase insurance are unsustainable expenses.

Brownback has remained silent on the Medicaid expansion. But the governor has indicated in numerous ways his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and supports its repeal.

When he was in the U.S. Senate, Brownback voted against the bill and was one of the speakers on a live video "PrayerCast" to oppose health care reform. As governor, last year, he sent back a previously approved $31.5 million federal grant to establish an insurance exchange where consumers could search for the best insurance for their needs and eligibility for subsides would be determined.

The expansion of Medicaid under the ACA would increase the number of those eligible to all non-elderly persons with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $30,000 for a family of four. That would provide coverage to 151,000 Kansans who are not insured now, according to the Kansas Health Institute.


Larry Sturm 5 years, 5 months ago

Would the governor's like to give up their health insurance. No but they would like for everyone else to.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

If the Gov. is so dead set against working with this President and his administration, can we count on him to resign if his Presidential candidate does not win?

Mike1949 5 years, 5 months ago

I doubt it! The right has a mission of destroying the middle class and the poor, which doesn't make sense, who is going to keep the United States solvent after the middle class joins the poor. Have you read the latest news? All these businesses that the Republicans are supporting are together in one of the largest banking scams of all history world wide. I am angry that Obama bailed out the banks now, but in retrospect, he knew nothing about the scam when he bent to the Republican pressure to bail out the banks. Remember now, the Republicans were behind the bank bail out as well as the Democrats. But will Brownback resign is Obama is re-elected? America can only hope so!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 5 months ago

"'He will make a decision after the elections,'"

How sad it must be to have a presidential candidacy decide if/how you will lead in your role as Governor.

Obama IS going to get re-elected, and when he does, Brownback will forever be known as the most dysfunctional Governor in the history of Kansas. What a ridiculous gamble, and all for appearances, so that the conservatives who drank their entire glass of Cool-Aid will like him.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

This governor will turn over all insurance to private industry in order to shore up campaign contributions. And maybe improve his line of investments.

I continue to ask: Is Sam Brownback a shareholder?

Does Sam Brownback still access insider trading privileges congress people seem to have acquired?

Larrytown 5 years, 5 months ago

A "PrayerCast" to oppose health care reform. Shaking my head....

Brownback = Hypocrite

CheneyHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Prince Sam - Consult your insurance commissioner - a great resource of information on this issue. No need to wait until after the election to make an informed decision.

chootspa 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh come on, this is a great opportunity for Brownie to both be fiscally unwise by turning away funding and to screw over the working poor. Those are two of his favorite things. Of course he'll turn the money down. He still won't be as awesome as his idol Rick P, who will manage to screw over about one in eight Texans.

Catalano 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow. My very own personal death panel in the form of Gov #heblowsalot.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

How much is the sick U.S. health care system costing you?

By Joel A. Harrison

Paying through the Taxman

The U.S. health insurance system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.

Tax dollars pay for Medicare and Medicaid, for the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service. Tax dollars pay for health coverage for federal, state, and municipal government employees and their families, as well as for many employees of private companies working on government contracts.

Less visible but no less important, the tax deduction for employer-paid health insurance, along with other health care-related tax deductions, also represents a form of government spending on health care.

It makes little difference whether the government gives taxpayers (or their employers) a deduction for their health care spending, on the one hand, or collects their taxes then pays for their health care, either directly or via a voucher, on the other.

Moreover, tax dollars also pay for critical elements of the health care system apart from direct care—Medicare funds much of the expensive equipment hospitals use, for instance, along with all medical residencies.

All told, then, tax dollars already pay for at least $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. health care expenses. Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate—in 2006, that means that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the United States that year went to pay for health care.

Recognizing these hidden costs that U.S. households pay for health care today makes it far easier to see how a universal single-payer system—with all of its obvious advantages—can cost most Americans less than the one we have today.

Medicare must exist in the fragmented world that is American health care—but no matter how creative the opponents of single-payer get, there is no way they can show convincingly how the administrative costs of a single-payer system could come close to the current level.

More on this matter: Physicians for a National Health Program

Health Care NOW!

Health Care In the USA

werekoala 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh, don't worry, he'll decline it, probably the friday afternoon before Labor Day, so it barely gets a glance.

And he will get away with it, too. Why? Because of people like a specific in-law of mine, who makes just a little too much each year to qualify for Medicaid. So she lets her blood pressure go untreated to dangerously high levels, until she winds up in the ER four/five times a year. Not that she pays those bills, the rest of us chip in for them each time we wait two hours for a ten dollar aspirin.

This women would be directly and immediately benefited by Obamacare, far more than myself. Yet she adamantly, and angrily opposes it because she thinks it is going to lead to death panels getting between her and her doctor. The one she hasn't been able to afford to see since 2004.

With willfully ignorant supporters like that, what does Brownback have to lose?

Diana Lee 5 years, 5 months ago

This would be an excellent chance to do the right thing for once, Governor.

lucky_guy 5 years, 5 months ago

Brownie reminds me of the Rob Lowe character in Animal house first the Koch brothers in hoods administer the punishment and he asks for more then later he is screaming "all is well" as he is being trampled by the masses.

Sheryl Wiggins 5 years, 5 months ago

I think you mean Chip, played by Kevin Bacon.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Expanding Medicaid would mean the end (or at least the reduction) of the current means of rationing healthcare, and Brownback is ideologically prohibited from allowing that.

The rich say we're broke, so the poor, the disabled, the young and the elderly must die.

Patricia Davis 5 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know if Sam is still on federal health insurance?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

This governer is hands-down one of the worst public officials I have ever seen in my 68 years, anywhere, any time, anyplace.

Just how the hell did the people of Kansas ever manage to believe that this guy would ever be a useful public official?

Nowhere USA has a new and disgusting ring to it.

Crysalis 5 years, 5 months ago

Our bloved Govenor BrokeBack will do whatever the T-baggers tell him.

Praying AGAINST covering the poor, the sick, and the elderly???????? Did that T-bagger that is supposed to be a big Christian read the bible? Is that what Jesus was teaching him?

Sound the "C-Street fake Christer alert", we got one!

Baby Jesus is crying now because of his Christian Hypocricy!

Paul R Getto 5 years, 5 months ago

More welfare for attorneys, this is. At least Sam is creating some work.

Clark Coan 5 years, 5 months ago

So, if the Reps don't take back the Senate and subsequently repeal the Affordable Care Act, then Brownback will what???

Mike Caddell 5 years, 5 months ago

This guy has a long history from the student senate at K-State of yucking and sucking with the most reactionary lunkheads around him. Run off the drug counselors, close down rape crisis centers and encourage binge drinking among the frat rats. He hasn't changed, just bigger and bigger, meaner and meaner a simpleton, a cornpone bully counting on his "constituents" being stupid and playing up his religion to draw in the old folks. This guy isn't even an intelligent conservative. What a sick, sick joke you mindless partisans have been made into. Read Thomas Frank's "Letter from Brownbackistan" in this month's Harper's magazine.

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