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Archive for Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Republicans push through resolution opposing expansion of Medicaid

February 26, 2013

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— Republicans on a House committee Tuesday pushed through a resolution that says the Legislature does not want to expand Medicaid to upwards of 150,000 low-income Kansans under the federal Affordable Care Act.

State Rep. David Crum R-Augusta, urged his colleagues to vote for the resolution, saying that the expansion would cost too much.

"My feeling is at what point are we going to break the bank in Washington," Crum said.

But those opposing the resolution said that Medicaid expansion would help tens of thousands of Kansans get better health care and there was no need to adopt such a resolution without further study.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, said there was a moral obligation to provide the opportunity for better health care, and whether people have Medicaid coverage or go uncovered and get treatment in an emergency room, taxpayers will pay for it.

"If we don't pay it on this end, we will pay it on the other end," Ballard said.

Supporters of the resolution said it would give Gov. Sam Brownback guidance on where the Legislature stands on the issue. Brownback, a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act, has not said whether he would seek to expand Medicaid.

House Concurrent Resolution 5013 was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on a voice vote. The measure indicates the Legislature's "intention not to expand Medicaid services in Kansas," under the ACA.

Currently, Medicaid provides health care coverage to about 380,000 Kansans. The largest portion of them — about 230,000 — are children. The rest are mostly lower-income, pregnant women, people with disabilities and elderly people. The $2.8 billion program is funded with federal and state dollars.

Medicaid in Kansas doesn’t cover low-income adults who don’t have children. And a nondisabled adult with children is eligible only if his or her income is below 32 percent of the poverty level, which is approximately $5,000 per year. That is about the most difficult eligibility level in the country.

But starting in 2014, the ACA creates an eligibility level of 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $15,415 per year for an individual and $26,344 per year for a family of three.

Estimates are that upwards of 150,000 more Kansans would be covered under the expansion. The federal government would pay all the costs of expansion for three years and then ratchet that down to 90 percent of the cost over the next several years.

Numerous Kansas hospitals and health care providers had urged the committee to drop the resolution.

A statewide poll conducted on behalf of the Kansas Hospital Association found that 60 percent of Kansans support expanding Medicaid.

After learning that Medicaid expansion would bring $800 million in federal funds to Kansas over three years, 62 percent of Kansans supported the expansion.

The poll of 610 Kansans was conducted in December and has a plus or minus margin of error of four percent.

Comments

jayhawklawrence 1 year, 9 months ago

David Crum scores a perfect 100 from Americans For Prosperity on his "Positions on Conservative Issues" from the 2010 information on the internet.

This is the report card that matters in the Kansas Legislature these days and the path to greatness for Kansas politicians.

http://votesmart.org/interest-group/801/rating/5051

I just wonder if Mr. Crum actually read the bill before it was presented for a vote?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

This article is about the sequester, but it also addresses why ultra-conservatives would do away with things like Medicaid and other social safety-net programs altogether if they could. (And I don't think that ultra-conservatives would disagree with what he has to say about their motivations.)

Why Ultra-Conservatives Like the Sequester by George Lakoff

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/02/26

Eride 1 year, 9 months ago

Just like the 50+ million dollar grant to set-up an exchange... take a stance! It doesn't matter how irrational. It isn't like expanding Medicaid with 90% (100% for the first 3 years and then scaling down to 90%) of the cost paid for by the federal government will help Kansas. It isn't like the money the state of Kansas gives up to take a "stance" against the ACA won't just go to another state.

The federal government will spend that money, but instead of it being spent to the advantage of Kansans, it will be spent to the advantage of everyone OTHER than Kansans. I don't know about anyone else, but I am really ecstatic that when the federal government offers a handout to help our state reduce its massive healthcare costs due to the majority of the population lacking coverage that our fine, upstanding state legislators can take the hard stance that they would rather Kansans not have health coverage, even when the state doesn't have to pay for almost any of it! After all, isn't it more important to thumb our noses at Obama then to provide our poor with health coverage (or to just reduce the expense incurred by the state in providing medical care).

All to take a "stance."

Eride 1 year, 9 months ago

Just like the 50+ million dollar grant to set-up an exchange... take a stance! It doesn't matter how irrational. It isn't like expanding Medicaid with 90% (100% for the first 3 years and then scaling down to 90%) of the cost paid for by the federal government will help Kansas. It isn't like the money the state of Kansas gives up to take a "stance" against the ACA won't just go to another state.

The federal government will spend that money, but instead of it being spent to the advantage of Kansans, it will be spent to the advantage of everyone OTHER than Kansans. I don't know about anyone else, but I am really ecstatic that when the federal government offers a handout to help our state reduce its massive healthcare costs due to the majority of the population lacking coverage that our fine, upstanding state legislators can take the hard stance that they would rather Kansans not have health coverage, even when the state doesn't have to pay for almost any of it! After all, isn't it more important to thumb our noses at Obama then to provide our poor with health coverage (or to just reduce the expense incurred by the state in providing medical care).

All to take a "stance."

Alyosha 1 year, 9 months ago

"My feeling is at what point are we going to break the bank in Washington,' Crum said."

  1. Rep. Crum should be more concerned with analytical thinking instead of what he "feels." Since when are feelings a sound basis for making public policy decisions?

  2. Rep. Crum is not a member of the United States Congress. His job is to participate in the creation sound public policy for Kansas, based on the values articulated in the Kansas Constitution, and let U.S. Representatives do their jobs.

bevy 1 year, 9 months ago

The New Republican Credo: If it helps the poor or the middle class - it's BAD! If it helps wealthy business owners (who can then hand out campaign contributions) - it's GOOD! So simple, any idiot can master it.

I fear the days of the true public servant are long behind us. Likewise the days of legislators with brains! Who does this moron think ends up paying for care for folks who go to the ER for things they could have handled with an office visit if they had health insurance!

I hope Sam will take his cue from the many other Repub. governors in Washington this week who have decided to do the right thing, even though it leaves a bad taste in their mouths.

Catalano 1 year, 9 months ago

Being one of the 150,000 who would qualify for the medicaid expansion, I "feel" like I'm getting a really clear picture of how a death panel really works.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Catalano - I am asking a serious question to understand the other side of the issue, not to poke or be argumentative. Why do you think part of my paycheck should be taken to provide you health insurance? I go to work everyday and earn my pay so why is it okay for me to be forced to give you part of it for your benefit and not mine?

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That argument applies to any and all tax funded programs - do you oppose all of them?

Public services are all paid for by tax revenue, and are used unequally by those who use them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

Would you rather live in a society that kicks its most vulnerable members to the curb to die?

progressive_thinker 1 year, 9 months ago

If you have health insurance and if you pay taxes, you are already helping provide healthcare to the poor and uninsured, either through tax dollars [medicaid disproportionate share payments to hospitals] or through increased health insurance premiums. The rub is that you are helping provide that care in the most expensive environment possible, the hospital and/or the emergency room. It has been known for many years that this model is unsustainable, as more and more citizens were becoming uninsured, often due to no fault of their own.

The medicaid expansion provisions of the ACA seeks to achieve cost controls and long term sustainability by providing health care "up front" in a lower cost environment.

Part of the change in medicaid expansion is that the medicaid disproportionate share payments will be discontinued, whether or not Kansas chooses to participate in the expansion. If Kansas chooses not to participate, many hospitals in the state [particularly in the rural areas] will be forced to close. That means that the cost of treating poor persons without insurance will likely be shifted even more to persons who have insurance, in the form of increased health insurance premiums, caused by poor people showing up at the emergency rooms of what few hospitals remain.

The bottom line is that those of us who pay taxes and have health insurance will pay now or pay later. In the long run, people who are healthier can work and pay taxes.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

I would ask why does part of my paycheck go to pay for the road that you drive on to go to work every day? My guess is that if you are like most folks, all the taxes you pay in your entire life wouldn't begin to pay for that single road. You couldn't pay for the road you get to the grocery store on either. The reason why part of your taxes pay for part of Catalono's health care is because part of everyones taxes pay for part of everything. That's what a society is. It's what a country is. That's just plain how it works. There are of course places where it doesn't work like this. Syria, Zimbabwe and others come to mind quickly. Great places to live. But, I doubt they are big on roads, sewers, health care, police protection, fire protection, clean water....It's pretty tough to run a real country. And, not to be argumentative, I believe a big part of the heath care program IS to allow folks who have been denied the opportunity to pay for their own health care regardless of pre-existing conditions or lack of employer sponsored plans. Medicaid is only a small part of that deal and the bulk of it goes for services to children, elderly and developmentally disabled. There are actually a great number of poor folks who work and cannot get health care. As we ballyhoo our Judeo-Christian heritage all the time, it seems like a really small price to live up to that heritage.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Everyone has the opportunity to use the roads. - whether you use them or not is your choice. You are not excluded.

Taxes should be collected and used for government functions that benefit the public good. A public good is open to anyone to use or benefit from. If a group is excluded then it is not for the public good.

Suppose the new red center was open only to people who made above a certain income - wouldn't that be wrong? So, why is it right to deny tax paid services to people based on income? The government should not provide charity and that is all it is- wealth redistribution and forced charity.

Yeah, I know this isn't popular here, but fortunately much of Kansas believes the way I do.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

Hold on a minute Fred. Below, you state your problem is you have no choice in paying for Medicaid. Here, you argue it our choice whether we use the roads or not. But, using your reasoning below, the issue is that I don't have a choice on whether or not I PAY for them. And, I don't. Fact of the matter is that even if I don't use them at all they are still of great benefit to me. Police, ambulances, fire trucks and all the goods and services I receive in this great country move on them. If Medicaid keeps poor people healthy, they stand a better chance of working and carrying their own weight in other areas. We all benefit from that too.

The real issue is that many of these Medicaid folks don't have a choice in health coverage. That's why Medicaid is there to protect them. Society benefits.

voevoda 1 year, 9 months ago

And, fred_mertz, if you pay for private health insurance but use those benefits minimally because you enjoy good health, your insurance payments are underwriting the costs of health care for sicker subscribers. That's how health insurance works, period.

Catalano 1 year, 9 months ago

Wow, I take a break, come back and find fred's question pretty well answered by those above. Thanks, guys and gals. I will sit back and wait for fred's answers to your questions. BTW, I do have a job and I pay taxes to the city, state and federal governments. I'm not particularly enthralled with how the new rec center is going to be funded, the governor's new tax plan, or paying for drones. Should I just stop paying taxes altogether in protest? Please advise.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

If you feel strongly enough then by all means protest. I don't like those things either.

Still, why do you want me to contribute to paying for your health insurance? What gives you the right to take my money for your benefit? I understand taking my money to pay for government and what it provides even if I don't agree with it, but this is taking my money not to benefit all citizens but only certain individuals. So, I don't want Medicaid expanded because I don't want to pay for your health insurance.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, perhaps I don't want to pay higher premiums on my health insurance because of habits that you may have that are harmful to you health. Maybe you are a smoker, or a heavy drinker, or genetically predisposed to certain health conditions. Maybe you engage in recreation that is high risk such as mountain climbing, snowboarding or motocross racing. Perhaps you don't like wearing a seatbelt and get into an accident that causes injuries that would not have been incurred had you wore a seatbelt.

Why should I have to subsidize your health care with increasing premiums because you don't live your life in a bubble?

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

You don't. You don't have to buy insurance. It is voluntary. The issue isn't with me, but with the insurance company. They are a private company and set the rules. You can choose to participate or not.

You're comparing apples to oranges.

I don't have the choice. The government doesn't give me the option not to participate. I realize that the current programs are not going to end, but I can try to stop new programs or expansion of existing ones.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

And when your private insurance hits the cap it will pay after an illness or accident, who do think picks up the tab then? And you still wish to eliminate the safety net for yourself?

Penny wise, pound foolish.

progressive_thinker 1 year, 9 months ago

Here is an interesting article that suggests that there may well be enough savings realized by providing care "up front" in clinics rather than in an emergency room/hospital following a crisis that the expansion will actually reduce medicaid costs to the states.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/07/05/how-the-medicaid-expansion-also-saves-states-money/

Time will tell, but it seems that a number of conservative governors are beginning to understand the potential long term costs and benefits.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Catalano has posted before that she does work. She pays taxes too. (I see that she has addressed that above).

Why do you assume that folks who can qualify for the expanded Medicaid are unemployed? Or that they are wanting to take something from you?

Do you also understand that Medicaid is not free healthcare? Medicaid recipients do pay premiums and also pay co-pays just as others do with private or employer provided health insurance.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Never said she was unemployed.

I don't think all Medicaid recipients pay a premium. And even so, hey are not paying the true value of it. My tax dollars pay for it too.

Explain to me how people who participate in Medicaid are not taking my tax dollars? They are. Catalano wants the expansion knowing that I and others will have to give up part of our pay to pay for it.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

You certainly implied it.

The poorest of the Medicaid recipients do not pay premiums.

Catalano and others are also contributing not only premiums (BTW if you have employer provided health insurance you are not paying the true value either. Your co-workers' pay is going to that as well. Why are you taking your co-workers' money?) but they contribute tax dollars as well.

In fact, they probably contribute tax dollars to things you use that they might not. That is how our system works.

And again, you wish to eliminate your own safety net? You don't think things can take a bad turn for you? Penny wise, pound foolish.

James Nelson 1 year, 9 months ago

The almighty dollar has always meant much more and will continue to mean much more to Brownback and other far right republicans than seeing to it that the poor receive quality health care. It is wrong for them to claim the unemployed are just lazy and, therefore, unworthy when so many of them were laid off or denied jobs by the greedy, overpaid executives who control the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity. These organizations ONLY exist to promote the concept that the rich get richer and screw everybody else. How dare the average Kansas voter subscribe to these principles.

Brownback and his legislative buddies must be crushed. They have declared war upon the poor and middle classes and simply must pay for their selfishness at the next general election. KANSANS, STAND UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kontum1972 1 year, 9 months ago

well folks they do not have a problem cutting seniors or other folks benefits....medical etc etc...they get carte blanc when they get sick...they get the best in services....and us common folks get the finger.

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Other Republican governors are dropping off the "oppose expansion of Medicare" list. They've seen the writing on the wall and/or the light of critical analyzation.

In Kansas the thinking apparatus is so twisted---

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

Here's something that Republican legislators who are so fascinated with lady parts should consider; without expansion of Medicaid or participation in the health exchange they can't control whether or not health insurance through the exchange will cover abortion.
One of those "unintended consequences", huh?

Thomas Bryce 1 year, 9 months ago

Good one Cait48. The tighter they squeeze, the more room for things like this to fall between their fingers.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

They already did it legislatively here so they don't need the expansion to do it.

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

They can "legislate" all they like. It's unenforcable. Brownback decided to not partner in the health exchange and therefore the state has no say in what insurance is sold through it. Tough beans for them, I know. My heart bleeds for them. Not.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Not sure that's true exactly.

If there's a state law saying that insurance companies in KS can't offer certain policies, wouldn't that still apply to insurance exchanges in KS?

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

Nope. The Feds are running this dog and pony show. They're the ones contracting with the insurance companies and they couldn't care less about state laws banning specific kinds of insurance. Seriously, why do you think so many states that were initially going to bypass it are now doing it? Go look it up. BB gave up the reins when he turned up his nose at it. As far as the Feds are concerned, Kansas no longer has a dog in the hunt. The fact that BB shot himself in the foot is nothing but a delight to me.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I think it's mostly because they realize it's in their own best interests financially.

Still not sure about the legal issues there - I wonder if a lawyer could enlighten us? The Feds are running a bunch of insurance exchanges that will sell insurance in KS, and KS has some legislation regarding what they can/can't offer here. Do the Feds have the right to just ignore those?

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes they can. There's this thing in the US Constitution called the "supremacy clause".

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

The supremacy clause is not enforced uniformly. Sanctuary cities routinely defy federal immigration laws. "Medical" marijuana, or even legalization/decriminalization would be another area of non-enforcement. I'm sure there are others.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

Sam Brownback is on record as not supporting the medicaid plan and privatizing at every opportunity no matter the cost to taxpayers. Turning away federal tax dollars coming back to our communities is not too smart. Guess a lot of republicans are not too smart. They prefer to do what ALEC Brownback dictates. Again not too smart.

Privatization supports private insurers necessarily wasting health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay.

Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $400 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.

Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.

Sam Brownback has no intention of reducing cost to anyone ....... but has every intention of increasing profits to the insurance industry. This matter is driven by ALEC and Sam Brownback is an ALEC junkie.

Larry Sturm 1 year, 9 months ago

We have the most backward govenor and legislature in the country I hope that someday they will need some help and nobody will help them' just send the death panel to them.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

I completely picture you like this.

Catalano 1 year, 9 months ago

I love Grumpy Cat, too. She's so versatile for all issues. Which, on this one, I totally agree with you.

question4u 1 year, 9 months ago

None of the cost of expansion would be paid by the state for the first three years, then after that the state would pay only 10% of the cost. Nevertheless we are hearing from state legislators that Kansas can't afford it.

Clearly these legislators do not have confidence in Flim-Flam Sam's predictions of economic prosperity. Obviously they do not believe that the "shot in the arm" to the Kansas economy that Brownback promised is going to materialize in three years. They expect the state to be too poor to pay 10% of the costs of expanding Medicaid four years from now.

The emperor has no clothes, and even the blindest can see that – though they'll only admit it through their actions. Poor Kansas!

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, I don't get this. Because we eliminated income taxes on many businesses, job creators are just going to flock to Kansas and we will have supergrowth in our economy.

If you believe that, how can you argue that Kansas cannot afford to pay 10% of the costs in 4 years? According to Brownback and his cronies Kansas is going to have a booming economy. 10% of the costs will be a mere drop in the bucket compared to all the money Kansas will be raking in.

Centerville 1 year, 9 months ago

It's three years of the feds rounding up eveyone they can to get in on it, by hook or by crook. Then we're stuck with 90% of the new tab. With no cap on how high that will be.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

The states are responsible for 10% after the first 3 years.

Catalano 1 year, 9 months ago

Do you worry that people like Centerville might actually vote?

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

Medicaid is a great idea as long as it costs "X" dollars. It might even be a good idea if it costs "2X" dollars. When it costs "5X" dollars, it becomes a bad idea and when it's "100X" dollars, it's pure folly.

Medicaid costs are expected to rise from 532 billion in 2010 to 932 billion in 2020.

We're already at "100X" if compared to costs going back in time, with expectations that future costs will be "200X" or more. No one is saying that providing better health care is a bad idea. But cost considerations must be part of the discussion.

Dan Eyler 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't support the expansion of Ks Medicaid. The federal government can and will set up exchanges and those who need this service can get it through the federal government. What difference should it make if you get the services from the federal exchange. They say they are going to cover that cost. I certainly wouldn't want to have to rely on the word of the federal government that they will continue to pay the state what they promise. The cost will skyrocket and the expansion of services will continue to grow. The cost to Kansans will force us to pull revenues from education, social services, and any other core state responsibilities to cover ever expanding healthcare services.

UneasyRider 1 year, 9 months ago

The current administration and legislators are already pulling revenues from the areas you mentioned, but not to fund healthcare, but to give tax cuts to the Kochs and the others 1% upper income brackets that the GOP loves.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Medicaid is a joint program between the Feds and the states. It is not solely a state program and the Feds currently contribute matching funds to the states. The Feds will cover 100% if the expanded Medicaid costs and after 3 years 90% of the costs. This is a much deal for the states than the current system.

Additionally, Medicaid is not free. Paricipants still pay co-payments and premiums.


http://www.medicaid.gov/

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Interesting. Apparently the Feds having been paying more than just matching funds with KS.

http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-State/kansas.html

The Feds having actually been covering 60% of Kansas' Medicaid costs. The Feds have only covered about 50% of New York's and California's costs. Overall for all the states, the Fed cover about 57-60% of the costs.

http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-State/By-State.html

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

It may be a joint fed-state program but it is a fully taxpayer funded program. Does it rally matter if it is paid for with my state taxes or federal taxes? Either way, I am still paying for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

You're paying for it, and so is every other taxpayer. But would you rather have a few extra bucks in your paycheck in exchange for a society that doesn't take care of its most vulnerable citizens, and instead just kicks them to the curb to die? Because that's precisely what your plea here suggests that you want.

I'm curious-- does this article describe your philosophy?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/02/26

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

Odd that you would use the word "precisely" in your comment since your examples are wild exaggerations. The health care being discussed is not about a few extra bucks. It's extremely expensive now, with costs spiraling up since Medicaid's inception. On the other end of your exaggeration spectrum, I know of no one who advocates kicking people to the curb so they might die.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

"I know of no one who advocates kicking people to the curb so they might die."

If the current hard right of the Republican Party gets their way (and they're trying hard to get it,) that's precisely what they'd do, even if they're too dishonest to put it in those terms. You're extremely naive if you believe otherwise.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

Again the word "precisely" when your comment is nothing but opinion. Just label it as such. In the world of opinions, hyperbole is perfectly acceptable.

This state has taken a hard turn to the political right, way too hard for my liking. Yet I've yet to see that party kick anyone to the curb and left to die. I've seen many out there, both now and when the previous governor was of the other political party. And I've seen many, many more out by the curb in places where liberal Democrats have held control for decades. The only rational conclusion is that these people haven't been kicked to the curb at all. They've crawled out there of their own volition. What we as a society have failed to do is find a way to entice them crawl back. But that failure is not the failure of either the far left or the far right. The "failure", if you wish to call it that, is that we've given them the right to make that choice for themselves.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

It's not opinion. The hard right would eliminate every vestige of the social welfare system if they could, and they're trying very hard to do it. And you're still naive if you're unaware of that.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Yup, you are paying for it. And you might end up having to use it. I don't know about you but I like a safety net.

Private insurance can drop you (I'm willing to bet we will see private insurances companies looking over applications with a magnifying glass for a reason to drop once you start costing them more than you pay in - Yay! rescission).

You could lose your job and any employer health insurance. Cobra is pretty expensive.

You could be disabled in an accident and unable to work. You could try suing whoever disabled you but that can take a long time to see any monies from that and that is assuming that you win your case and the money isn't eaten up by legal and medical bills.

You could have a child that is disabled and requires long-term care. What do you think covers those that have been disabled from birth or childhood and never had an opportunity to work?

James Nelson 1 year, 9 months ago

And just what did you expect from a bunch of selfish, greedy rich white guys?

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

I am so getting more use out of this than I ever thought.

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 9 months ago

Alan Grayson. One of my fangurl idols. I just adore that man. :)

oldexbeat 1 year, 9 months ago

black guy wants the expansion -- kansas guys (rather brownback istan guys) against it. What ever IT is. simple fact. race blinds koch tea party. poor people are not fat bald white guys. (Not true, but believed). Therefore hurt poor people. It is OK. Go Sammy. Help the rich white folks.

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 9 months ago

Former Kansas Health Solutions exec sentenced to three years for Medicaid scam

he former chief financial officer for Kansas Health Solutions has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his scheme to steal more than $2 million in Kansas Medicaid funds.

Jason Sellers, 44, of Lyndon, also was ordered to pay back more than $2 million. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom.

Federal prosecutors said Sellers diverted the Medicaid funds to a shell company, Advanced Business Consulting, while he was at Kansas Health Solutions. The sham company supposedly was providing information technology services. At the time, Kansas Health Solutions was under contract to administer the state's Medicaid payments to community mental health centers.

Prosecutors said Sellers used the stolen money to buy equipment and uniforms for youth sports teams he was involved with between 2007 and 2011 and also built and furnished a $375,000 home on 11 acres.

http://www.khi.org/news/2013/feb/05/former-kansas-health-solutions-exec-sentenced-thre/?print

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That's horrifying.

But, you did leave out the last sentence of the story, which states that KS officials immediately ordered new oversight of that company when they found out.

It could be worse.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Sure it could. It could be like the fraud the ScooterStore was doing.

http://articles.philly.com/2013-02-23/business/37244191_1_medicare-and-medicaid-fraud-unit-waste-and-fraud

Fun fact: Marc Leder's (the guy who held the fundraiser where Romney's 47% remark was made) Sun Capital firm has a stake in the Scooter Store.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That's too bad - I always like their commercials.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

jafs says... That argument applies to any and all tax funded programs - do you oppose all of them?

Posting from a phone and it won't let me reply to you so I had to do a new post. To answer your question, no all do not oppose all tax funded programs. I support those that are for the public good. It doesn't matter if I participate or not only that I have the opportunity and am not excluded. Hence I oppose tax dollars that only benefit individuals at the exclusion of others including corporate subsidies.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

So you oppose all tax programs that help lower income folks rather than everybody?

Also, I wonder where public education falls for you - as somebody without kids, am I excluded from it, and so shouldn't have to pay for it, or is the fact that I could use it if I had kids enough to make it truly "public" for you?

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, when those programs provide direct benefits to individuals. If there is a need to provide housing then build public housing that anyone can live in if they so choose. If people are hungry then distribute food that anyone can take.

Rich or poor can attend public schools - no one is excluded. Even if you don't have kids you had the opportunity to attend a public school.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Why would we provide free housing or food to people that don't need it? Personally, I think SS/Medicare should be means and asset tested, so we're not providing them to seniors that don't need them.

Yes I did, and my parents and others in that generation paid for my education. Now I'm paying about 1/2 of my property taxes for public education, but since we have no kids, we can't use that system at all.

If one follows your argument through, then all people without children shouldn't have to pay for public education, which wouldn't work very well. And, I'm sure that there are lots of other examples like that.

It's an interesting distinction, and I understand your point, but I think in practice it's not workable.

voevoda 1 year, 9 months ago

There are very few government services that everyone uses, fred_mertz. By your logic, all services directed towards women ought to be discontinued, because men can never use them. All services directed towards children ought to be discontinued, because adults can never use them. All services directed towards universities and community colleges ought to be discontinued, because high school dropouts don't qualify to use them.

Lots of us never use some public services, and we hope that we won't have to. We don't want to have to call the police or the fire department; we don't want to need to go to court; we don't want to need counseling after a rape. But we do want such services to be available to us if we ever should need them, and most of us want such services to be available equally to our fellow-citizens, if they ever should need them.

Medicaid is the same as the fire department, fred_mertz. If your income ever declined and you lost your private health insurance coverage, you'd have Medicaid to fall back on. Think of your tax support for it as backup insurance for yourself, in case life happens.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 9 months ago

Of course!! The Republican Terrorists got their butts kicked in the election. What better response to this telling fact than to oppose the black dude who is a non-citizen in the White House??

The Republican Terrorist Party in Kansas has made violating Federal Law an agenda.

Arn't you proud of your selection of these jerks???

You must be, you keep voting for these "conservative" facists.

Alceste 1 year, 9 months ago

The Kansas Legislature approved the now most current way to spell the state's name: A-L-A-B-A-M-A . (M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I was a close second....).

grandnanny 1 year, 9 months ago

For those who don't realize it, we are already paying for poor people to get health care at the emergency room, the most costly way to get health care. Emergency rooms are not meant for sore throats or ear aches, but if you don't have a primary care physician, that is where you go. If poor people could get Medicaid, they could go to one doctor like the rest of us do. They could get check-ups and routine physicals so that they would not have to use the emergency room. In the long run,the cost will be less, not more. Several Republican governors have realized this fact and have decided to expand Medicaid. Those states will be getting the money that our legislature turned down. Remember that this legislature wants fluoridation out of the water in Topeka because it is lowering their IQs. Too late.

notajayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

The problem everyone seems to be selectively blind to is that Obamacare PROMISES to pay for the expansion of Medicaid, but what they PROMISE and what they'll be ABLE to deliver might be two entirely different things.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/2013/02/15/cb9d56ac-779c-11e2-8f84-3e4b513b1a13_print.html

Not to mention people are discussiing this as if it's all some kind of "free money", that Kansans won't be paying for it because the money will be coming from the fed (at least at first, until the state is committed). I don't know about the rest of you, but some of us pay federal taxes, too.

jayhawklawrence 1 year, 9 months ago

By the same logic that is used by Kansas politicians to block Obama care, can/are we going to see an effort to deny emergency room care to the uninsured?

I am sure someone in the legislature will struggle with this because it does not fit into their simple minded view of the universe.

notajayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Not to interupt you with facts, but the uninsured actually use emergency rooms less (both in terms of number of visits and dollar resources) than anyone else. The people that use ER services the MOST: Medicaid recipients.

jayhawklawrence 1 year, 9 months ago

Last time I checked there were approximately 80 million uninsured or under insured Americans.

The right wing solution is to pretend there is no problem and to promote policies that continue to hurt average Americans in favor of a wealthy elite.

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