Medicaid expansion supporters say look at the big picture
Topeka — Sheldon Weisgrau, director of the Health Reform Resource Project, said when trying to determine whether it is prudent to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, there is more to consider than only the impact on the state budget.
Expanding Medicaid will cost Kansas approximately $600 million over 10 years, according to an executive summary of a study released last week by the Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration.
But Weisgrau said any analysis of the issue should also include offsets in other parts of the budget; the effect of expansion on health care providers, such as hospitals that face growing costs in caring for the uninsured; and the value to people’s health in being covered.
Even though the federal government will pay the entire cost of the expansion for three years and no less than 90 percent in subsequent years, Brownback has said he is concerned that the federal government could renege on its funding commitment.
But several Republican governors who have been adamant opponents of the Affordable Care Act have agreed to the expansion. Addressing the concern about future federal funding, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Medicaid expansion there will include a “circuit-breaker that automatically rolls back enrollment if federal reimbursement rates decrease.”
Bill to block cities from switchblade regulation considered
A measure to prohibit cities from enacting ordinances that ban switchblade knives is being considered by a House committee.
State Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, said Second Amendment rights to bear arms are absolute, and that includes knives.
Todd Rathner, director of legislative affairs for Knife Rights Inc., said Kansas laws on knives are antiquated.
But several law enforcement groups oppose the measure, saying that it would make police work more dangerous.
No public funds for lobbying to be aired
A proposal that would prohibit public funds from being used to lobby the Legislature will be considered at 9:30 a.m. today before the Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee.
Senate Bill 109 also says that no public funds can be used to pay membership dues to an association that is engaged in lobbying the Legislature.
Conservative Republicans have sought similar legislation before, mostly because of resentment over lobbyists for schools testifying in support of more school funding.
SB 109 says representatives of the state, city or an association representing certain municipalities could communicate with a legislator “on the request of that member.”
Quote of the week
“I’m kind of like the spouse who receives flowers and immediately wonders what are they up to. Their offer to mediate is inconsistent with how they have behaved in this litigation from the beginning.”
— Alan Rupe, an attorney representing school districts in lawsuit against the state, in response to Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to send the lawsuit to mediation.
9 a.m. — Possible action on House Bill 2201, telecommunications regulation, before House Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, Room 582-North.
10:30 p.m. — Hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1608 that says suitable provision of school finance determined by Legislature, before Senate Judiciary Committee, Room 346-South.
1:30 p.m. — Hearing on House Bill 2025, creating the KanCare oversight committee, before House Health and Human Service Committee, Room 546-South.
1:30 p.m. — Hearing on House Bill 2234, naming the secretary of transportation as chairperson and chief executive officer of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, before House Transportation Committee, Room 582-North.
9 a.m. — Hearing on House Bill 2054, regulating sexually oriented businesses, before House Federal and State Affairs Committee, Room 346-South.
10:30 a.m. — Continued hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1608 that says suitable provision of school finance determined by Legislature, before Senate Judiciary Committee, room 346-South.
1:30 p.m. — Continued hearing on House Bill 2025, creating the KanCare oversight committee, before House Health and Human Service Committee, room 546-South.