Archive for Friday, September 7, 2012

Kansas plan

September 7, 2012


It’s no secret that Gov. Sam Brownback doesn’t support the federal Affordable Care Act. The question is whether he will risk handicapping his state by refusing to move forward on decisions that will guide, and likely improve, the implementation of national health care in Kansas.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger and her staff are working to formulate a recommendation on a basic health insurance plan that should be available to Kansans who purchase insurance through a new online “exchange” or marketplace that federal officials say will be in operation in about 16 months.

Kansas has until Sept. 30 to submit a “benchmark” plan that would meet the essential health benefits enumerated in the Affordable Care Act. If the state doesn’t submit a plan, the choice of benefits for Kansas residents would be left to federal health officials.

Praeger and others see a number of advantages to Kansas formulating its own benchmark plan. Insurance officials who testified at a meeting in Topeka on Wednesday also urged the state to move quickly on settling the benchmark issue so that insurance companies will have time to implement new policies.

To that end Praeger says she will submit a recommendation to Brownback within about a week. Unfortunately, indications are that the governor’s desk may be as far as the recommendation goes.

On Wednesday, Brownback’s spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag reiterated the governor’s position that he would make no decisions “relating to the implementation of Obamacare” until after the November elections. The governor, who also returned a $31.5 million federal grant aimed at helping the state set up its health exchanges, is waiting to see whether Republican Mitt Romney is elected president and makes good on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Repeal could happen, but even if Romney is elected, there is no guarantee that the care act, or at least key provisions of it, won’t be implemented. If the plan moves forward either under Romney or Obama, Kansas needs to be ready. It needs to have had a say in how it wants this plan implemented so it provides the best benefit to Kansas residents. Ignoring the fact that this law could be implemented may make a political point, but it’s a poor strategy for the state.

It will cost the state nothing to forward a benchmark plan to the federal government. If the Affordable Care Act eventually is repealed, the state will have lost nothing. However, if the act, indeed, moves forward, the state, by submitting a plan, will have gained a measure of control over how its provisions are implemented in Kansas, for Kansans.

Brownback’s first responsibility is to the people of this state. The choice should be clear.


Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 7 months ago

This editorial is right to the point. Thank you.

saraj 5 years, 7 months ago

The last sentence is the most important. and what is most easily overlooked by Brownback. I have heard within the last week that people were being discouraged from moving to KS because of the educational system......and that includes KU. Those who elected this man to office might want to take a good look at what has happened to our state in a very short period of time.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm on my way out. I'm lucky I have options. Not everyone does.

headdoctor 5 years, 7 months ago

Brownback has already proven that he is perfectly willing to screw the State over and waste more money. What makes this any different.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't think gov. Brownback sees his results as damaging. He's a believer in a radical movement. The problem is that his narrow thinking impacts more than he is able to comprehend. It's almost cult like.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 7 months ago

Is Brownback incompetent or just foolish? I have never seen a governor so hardheaded and one directional. He should look out for ALL the people of Kansas, not just those that share his ridiculous political point of view. This man needs to be retired from politics and certainly from the governor's office.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Sociopathic, I'd say. He's convinced of his own brilliance and has bought into an ideology to the exclusion of all evidence. He's decided that voters in Kansas can easily be manipulated with social issues while he continues to make them economically worse off (and he may very well be right). Furthermore, he has no empathy for the suffering of others. Bad combination.

tir 5 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately, Brownwhack obviously believes his first responsibility is to the Koch brothers, who have bought and paid for his loyalty. The State of Kansas and the people who live here are of no importance to him whatsoever. His choice is clear to him, all right, and he will choose to follow the orders of his masters.

DaBellaDaBall 5 years, 7 months ago

"Brownwhack" ....I like that. I don't agree that Brownwhack's first priority is to the Koch brothers. I think it is a tie between the Koch brothers and tax abatement. Brownwhack has become the master of tax abatements. He is now recognized nation-wide as a master abator. What an embarrassment to the Sunflower State.

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