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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Expand Medicaid

January 23, 2014

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To the editor:

Our governor’s refusal to expand Medicaid to more Kansans steals from all Kansans. For the nearly 135,000 uninsured adults and nearly 22,000 uninsured children who are unable to qualify for basic health care in its current form, for 4,000 newly affordable Kansas jobs in the health care fields and for you and me, fellow federal taxpayer, our governor’s denial of Medicaid expansion is a wholesale withholding of what we have paid for and deserve.  

Expanding Medicaid for those with incomes below 138 percent of poverty ($15,856 for a single adult, $7.63 per hour working full time) will result in lower medical insurance premiums for almost everyone. With basic care more available, fewer people will need to make unsupported, unnecessarily expensive ER visits. With affordable basic health care, we will have a healthier and more productive workforce as well.

Kansas is the tenth most generous state in supporting the federal government. Our state got back just 71 cents for every federal tax dollar collected in 2012 (30 other states got returns between $1.01 and $4.32 per tax dollar) down from $1.38 in 2009. We can’t afford Sam’s rejection of federal support, starving Kansas to Third World status in order to support his East Coast friends. Brownbackistan is not a funny joke.

To pay with our pocketbooks is bad and stupid; to pay with the health of our citizens, families and workforce is immoral and repugnant. Sam, please, let us enjoy federal support for the sake of health care for all Kansans. Expand Medicaid for people in need.

Comments

John Middleton 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"Expanding Medicaid for those with incomes below 138 percent of poverty ($15,856 for a single adult, $7.63 per hour working full time) will result in lower medical insurance premiums for almost everyone. With basic care more available, fewer people will need to make unsupported, unnecessarily expensive ER visits."

Malarkey!

Expand Medicaid, more people on a government-paid program, Medicaid costs go up, taxes to up for everyone, private insurance premiums unchanged. Net higher.

Expand Medicaid, more people on a government-paid program, more people going to doctors and ERs, Medicaid costs go up, taxes go up for everyone, private insurance premiums unchanged. Net higher. Study shows that when the uninsured get Medicaid they make MORE trips to the ER.

The uninsured go to the ER, then don't pay the bill, the hospital loses money, they bill more for other services to cover the costs, the insurance companies pay more to the hospital, private insurance premiums go up to pay the total cost increases. Net higher.

Please show me the scenario where private insurance premiums will drop for all when Medicaid is expanded.

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Richard Heckler 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"After you’re dead, your estate can be billed for ordinary health-care expenses"

Where is the hard evidence? This appears to be more misinformation aka character assassination of Obamacare. The medical insurance industry keeps busy wasting people's health insurance dollars on political campaigns and lying.

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Beator 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death

As thousands of state residents enroll in Washington’s expanded Medicaid program, many will be surprised at fine print: After you’re dead, your estate can be billed for ordinary health-care expenses. State officials are scrambling to change the rule.

By Carol M. Ostrom Seattle Times health reporter

It wasn’t the moonlight, holiday-season euphoria or family pressure that made Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, both 62, suddenly decide to get married.

It was the fine print.

As fine print is wont to do, it had buried itself in a long form — Balhorn’s application for free health insurance through the expanded state Medicaid program. As the paperwork lay on the dining-room table in Port Townsend, Prins began reading.

She was shocked: If you’re 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you’re dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.

The way Prins saw it, that meant health insurance via Medicaid is hardly “free” for Washington residents 55 or older. It’s a loan, one whose payback requirements aren’t well advertised. And it penalizes people who, despite having a low income, have managed to keep a home or some savings they hope to pass to heirs, Prins said

With an estimated 223,000 adults seeking health insurance headed toward Washington’s expanded Medicaid program over the next three years, the state’s estate-recovery rules, which allow collection of nearly all medical expenses, have come under fire.

Medicaid, in keeping with federal policy, has long tapped into estates. But because most low-income adults without disabilities could not qualify for typical medical coverage through Medicaid, recovery primarily involved expenses for nursing homes and other long-term care.

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed that. Now many more low-income residents will qualify for Medicaid, called Apple Health in Washington state.

But if they qualify for Medicaid, they’re not eligible for tax credits to subsidize a private health plan under the ACA, which requires all adults to have health insurance by March 31

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Abdu Omar 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Steve King, for the sake of all Kansans, I hope you are right. But the west side of Kansas are all die hard republicans and feel that Democrats are fashioned after the devil. Even though Brownback is hurting them, they will still pull the lever for republicans every time. They must be educated and that means lots of money to pay for real, true and exacting ads.

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Steve King 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I predict he will lose. When the court rules against him and he has to cover the bill all heck will break out. And all those westerners who voted for him are pretty po'd about their rising property taxes. He went too far. Read the western papers. The editorials are ripping him consistently. The KC Star said he was on a fools errand.

It will be easy to frame lots of commercials detailing his errors. The lemmings will vote. He and Kobach will fall. I predict many of the tin foil hat tea party conservatives will fall.

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Steve King 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Brownback will get his comeuppance. Did he really think his disparaging comments helped his case with the Court? His film flam picking new Judges was as transparent as mud. And then he wants to hand pick the Supreme Court Judges next? Didn't happen because it takes a change to the state constitution and he knew we would defeat it.

He and Kobach are going to get fried in Federal Court too.

Alec puppets are all they are.

Yesterday another puppet held a "show and tell" at the state house. Another Alec puppet. And once the kids get here, there is nothing for them.

They should be ashamed. Let's let them know we're ashamed of them and show them the door.

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Bart Johnson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The solution is simple--if you are complaining that Kansans are paying federal taxes and not getting "back" much money, then you should be against taxes. Demanding a bigger share of the loot ignores the real problem--the constant theft of our property by the government.

And to act like this is all OK because it's for health care is to make a mockery of morality. It is immoral and evil to use violence, coercion or threats to accomplish one's ends. The government picks things like health care in order to get us tax cattle to calm down about our tax slavery. All it does it makes things worse and enriches the government and their friends in big business.

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Brock Masters 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"For the nearly 135,000 uninsured adults and nearly 22,000 uninsured children who are unable to qualify for basic health care in its current form"

They qualify for insurance under the ACA, they just have to pay for it .

Too bad Obama's promise of AFFORDABLE health insurance wasn't kept.

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Lawrence Morgan 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I completely agree with you. Not to do so is shameful, because it is people who are working and who are being paid the lowest wages who suffer.

Besides expanding Medicaid, we need to end the term of this governor!

Can you imagine what it would be like, as a poorer person, not to have Medicaid expansion and yet to be sick, while more well-off individuals get their health care?

And many of these people are very important for the more well-to-do, providing such services as caretakers, cooks, creative writers and artists. It is unbelievable to see this kind of thing happen in this country, and especially in Kansas!

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