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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

Lawrence Morgan 11 months 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!

Fred Mertz 11 months 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.

Fred Mertz 11 months ago

Obama and the D's designed the ACA. They should have designed a bill that was constitutional. Obama owns the ACA - its successes and its failures.

Fred Mertz 11 months ago

No the ACA originally forced the states to expand medicaid but the court said they couldn't do it.

Regardless, he should have designed a program that didn't depend on state governors to act or as a good leader convinced the states to do it.

Go ahead and deny Obama has failed as a president. His ACA is a failed program.

Fred Mertz 11 months ago

Lol ....didn't force the states...sure you don't have to expand but we will cut your funding. That is call coercion.

Fred Mertz 11 months ago

Oh done all the time so that makes it okay?

Coercion is wrong. The federal government forces the states citizens to pay taxes and then threaten to withhold funding to the state if the state doesn't do something the Feds have no legal authority to do themselves.

Can't believe you can't see this is wrong and abuse of power.

Fred Mertz 11 months ago

Let's end this on a positive note. I agree about EDs and the NSA.

Bart Johnson 11 months 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.

Melinda Henderson 11 months ago

"It is immoral and evil to use violence, coercion or threats to accomplish one's ends."

So by that, I assume you don't agree with Brownback's thinly veiled "coercion" or "threat" to the State Supreme Court during his State of the State message?

When our governor and legislators play politics with people’s lives, yet claim to follow Jesus, it’s time for them to get kicked out of their “temples.”

Bart Johnson 11 months ago

Brownback is a con man, as are all successful politicians. He will lie until he is blue in the face in order to get into office, but don't believe a word of what he says. He is just one bully among many.

Chelsea Kapfer 11 months ago

"a mockery of morality" is the fact that there are people in the country DYING from lack of healthcare. People lose their homes, their savings, their futures and their lives to feed the greed of the insurance companies and big pharma. I see it everyday as a nurse, Something has to be done, and hats off to Obama for getting it started. The way our country takes care of its people is despicable. The ACA is not perfect, by any means, but it is the start of creating a system where everyone has equal access to healthcare. What can anyone possibly have against a happier, healthier and more productive society?

Bart Johnson 11 months ago

Yes, healthcare is a huge problem and something has to be done. Get the evil gun of the government out of healthcare. This is the only moral and effective thing to do. Why would anyone be against a happier, healthier and more productive society?

Bart Johnson 11 months ago

Why does the government have no moral role in health care? Because morality does not start with pointing a gun at someone and telling them that this is for their own good. Morality does not start with spending other people's money or controlling how other people conduct their lives.

And if the government gives me a monopoly on selling beer, and prosecutes anyone else who makes or sells beer in the state, and puts the police on the borders, checking people to see if they are bringing beer in across state lines, am I really a "private" business owner? Calling the insurance industry or the heath care industry private when there is so much government protection and regulation and manipulation is simply false. Of course, on top of that there is massive amounts of government money flowing into these industries, and all of the money changing hands is government fiat money. The only private industries in the US exist on the black market.

Bart Johnson 11 months ago

" I'm personally very satisfied with helping to pay for...."

Then we don't need a government.

"Yeah, that darn stipulation of...."

Again, you are not talking about private companies on a free market. I agree completely with your criticisms of the situation. Like Marx, who was completely right about his criticisms of exploitation and wealth transfer to the rich, you hit the nail on the head. Like Marx. you incorrectly attribute what you see to capitalism. What we have and have had is a fascist/mercantilist society with government control, protection and manipulation with private ownership and private profits. The most fascist parts of our economy are things like health care, insurance, banking and education. The most capitalist parts of our economy are things like computer programming, cell phones and the black market.

" you have not revealed any viable alternative...."

What will happen to the slaves after they are freed? How will they find jobs? Who will give them shelter? Who will give them food? Well, I don't really know, but I know that slavery is evil and should be abolished. I also know that government is evil and should be abolished.

"have you ever once wondered why..."

There are two ways to make a living--the economic way of working for a living and the political way of living off of others' work. People prefer to live off of others if they can.

Bart Johnson 11 months ago

"nor do we have a full-out communist/socialist/whatever-you-wanna-call-it government"

Fascist. Look up the Nazi party platform. If you take out the racist and anti-immigrant stuff you have the US today.

"I can't say I really know where you're going with this."

You asked for a "viable alternative." To me, that's like asking an abolitionist for a viable alternative to slavery. The abolitionist doesn't have to say exactly what will happen to the slaves after they are free. His argument is that slavery is evil and should be done away with. My argument is that government is evil and should be done away with. Whether everything will work out perfectly or not doesn't matter. Getting rid of great evil is what matters.

Bart Johnson 10 months, 4 weeks ago

No, I don't have to present a viable alternative in the place of government. If you are placing your boot on someone's neck and I'm telling you to take it off, I don't have to present a viable alternative. Government is evil and immoral.

And regardless, being able to lay out in detail how a society would function without a government is the best argument FOR a centrally-planned government.

Steve King 11 months 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.

Fred Mertz 11 months ago

I doubt that he will lose and when he wins he will have a mandate from the people for his policies. Watch out then....if you think it is bad now, watch him in his second term.

Steve King 11 months 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.

Abdu Omar 11 months 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.

Fred Mertz 11 months ago

Democrats are not fashioned after the devil but are fashioned after Obama......oh wait I see your point now :).

Beator 11 months 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

Richard Heckler 11 months 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.

John Middleton 11 months ago

Medicaid can already wipe your assets to zero and go back several years to recover any financial gifts you might have made when they are paying for long term care. Where is the stretch for them to decide that there is no free ride in health care and go back several years worth of expenses to recover it from your estate? Once they grasp the enormity of the recovery, it won't take long to have it appear in the regulations. Maybe it is already there...

Beator 11 months ago

Heckler,

This article came from the Seattle Times.,...hardly a region of the country for a nests of Obamacare assassins. Medicaid has been able to take wealth since the early 90's I believe. But with the expanded Obama version, the government will be able to pick the middle classes family tree pocket after death...Brownback is trying to prevent this Obamacare raid on your surviving family's pocket book after your body is lifeless.

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

I believe, this paper no longer allows posting of alternate web sites.....

John Middleton 11 months 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.

John Middleton 11 months ago

So, eventually, they will go to a doctor rather than the ER. More people on Medicaid, the costs go up.

So the states will only see an increase of 2.8%. I know that this is a shock to the 47% who pay no income taxes, but not only is the state's 2.8% increase paid for by higher taxes, but the 97.2% increase paid for by the Federal govt is ALSO another tax that we will pay... or at least 53% of us will pay.

The people in the Medicaid-subsidy gap probably won't be buying insurance coverage. Those who are likely to, as you pointed out, will be the chronically ill people who will drive insurance premiums up, not down as the letter-writer stated.

And the healthy young who probably won't be buying, they will make the cost comparison between the premiums and the penalty and take the cheapest path. Why pay premiums now when you know that you can get it later if a catastrophic illness occurs. Thus costs and premiums will not go down. Sorry...

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