Archive for Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kansas insurance boss Praeger speaks in Lawrence on Medicaid expansion

March 2, 2014


Kansas Insurance Commissioner and former mayor of Lawrence Sandy Praeger spoke to a group at the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence about the need for Kansas to expand Medicaid coverage Sunday morning.

Kansas is one of 24 states that has not accepted a provision of the Affordable Care Act that would allow states to receive federal funds to pay for 100 percent of Medicaid expansion for the first three years and no less than 90 percent after that.

“We’re sending our dollars to Washington, and they’re going to other states who are expanding their Medicaid,” Praeger told the audience.

If Kansas accepted the proposal, tens of thousands of additional low-income Kansans would have access to Medicaid, Praeger said. Currently, she said, there is no Medicaid coverage for adults without children, and residents whose income is between 32 percent and 70 percent of the federal poverty level cannot receive insurance under the ACA.

“We have a lot of folks who can’t afford their health care,” Praeger said. “People don’t choose to get sick.”

Opponents in Kansas, including Gov. Sam Brownback, say they don't trust the federal government to follow through on its commitments to fund the expansion and that the costs of the program would take away from spending on core services like education.

Praeger, whose husband was a physician in Lawrence before his recent retirement, said opponents argue universal health care already exists by way of requiring emergency rooms to treat patients regardless of whether they can pay. But for Praeger and other advocates for the expansion, that’s not enough.

“It’s not health care when people end up in emergency rooms,” Praeger said. “That’s sick care.”

Looking forward, Praeger told the group to get active if they want to be part of the change. Praeger said a majority of Kansans want the expansion, pointing to a recent poll commissioned by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network that said 72 percent of Kansans support accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

“I think eventually states will have to participate in Medicaid,” Praeger said. “It just doesn’t make sense at all.”

Praeger is part of a group of six Kansas leaders – three Democrats and three Republicans including Lt. Governor candidate Jill Docking, former Lt. Governor Sheila Frahm and Kansas Democratic Party chair Joan Wagnon – who founded the grassroots coalition “Reroute the Roadmap.” According to the coalition’s website, the group exists to “fight the extreme, failed policies of the Brownback administration.”

Along with opposing the state’s tax reform measures and “inadequate” school funding, Praeger said, the coalition works to inform the public about the effects of the decision not to expand Medicaid.

“We’re not advocating for anyone to be elected or defeated,” Praeger said. “We just want to get the information out there.”


Phillip Chappuie 3 years, 11 months ago

We definitely need to reroute the roadmap because the course Brownback has us on is headed right off a cliff. It as if our Governor is really Wylie Coyote and he bought all his policy ideas at the Acme Fools Policy company.

MerriAnnie Smith 3 years, 11 months ago

"“We’re sending our dollars to Washington, and they’re going to other states who are expanding their Medicaid,” Praeger told the audience."

This is a major point that needs to be driven home by all the Democrats in leadership positions or who will or are candidates now.

Put that in your commercials along with all the other major points.

People here keep saying they don't want that money because it's taxes they don't want to pay to the fed anyway but they are missing a huge huge point. They are GOING TO PAY THOSE TAXES to the federal government, and SOMEBODY ELSE IS GOING TO GET THEM IN THEIR STATE.

It is nothing but pure ignorant stupidity to listen to Brownback and the legislators when they talk about this. They have a whole different motive for what they're doing than YOU have for not wanting this expansion.

Their motive is that, if they can fool you, they can use that to get you to elect them again. That is 100% their motive, getting re-elected. They live high. You suffer.

Just don't be fools for them.

Teri Griffin-Guntert 3 years, 11 months ago

Sandy Praeger rubs shoulders very closely with Kathleen Sebelius.

MerriAnnie Smith 3 years, 11 months ago

Teri, do you have a problem with working together to make this state a better state?

Larry Sturm 3 years, 11 months ago

The people of Kansas should demand that our governor accept this money they are elected to do what is good for Kansas and not the buying of our government buy the Koch brothers and ALEC.

Miranda Cruz 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes they are fighting the extreme, failed policies of the Brownback administration by supporting the extreme, failed policies of the Obama administration.

Seth Peterson 3 years, 11 months ago

Actually it took 30 seconds of looking at their website to see the organization has absolutely nothing to do with policies of the Obama administration. They are fighting for Kansas Schools, Kansas tax reform, and rural health.

The only federal mention is the following:

"The Kansas legislature and Governor have chosen not to expand Medicaid under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Why does this matter? Without Medicaid expansion, approximately 70,000 Kansans will only have emergency rooms as their source for health care. They cannot receive insurance under the ACA since their income is between 32-70% of the federal poverty level. The ACA would reimburse the state for 90% of the costs of Medicaid expansion. Kansas will lose over $700 million dollars."

Which does not support the Affordable Care Act, but does call out the level of stupidity our State follows by not taking advantage of the situations offered (which is far from support).

Mike Ford 3 years, 11 months ago

too much kool aid not enough fact.....that's the matter with the Kansas.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 11 months ago

All of you Medicaid acolytes need to understand that Congress can change the law in three years and saddle the state with 100% of the costs. Congress of the future is not obligated to commit to what the Congress of today promises. Personally, I've had enough of promises from Washington D.C. If it's such a great idea, why doesn't the Federal Government block grant what ever they have available and allow Kansas to administer the program as it sees fit. Things from the Federal government always come with strings attached.

James Howlette 3 years, 11 months ago

The states could just end the program if the funding dried up. It's like arguing that you could be hit by a meteor tomorrow, so you should just stop paying rent.

Greg Cooper 3 years, 11 months ago

Scott, strings are attached to everything. Saying that you don't want tax dollars returned to Kansas because Congress might one day change the law is like saying that you don't want to get a job because some day the company might not be there.

If the law changes, we do what we must. But meantime, we take care of our own with money that really does exist and believe in the Feds until and unless they change things. Not taking the money and taking care of our own now because it might not be there in the future is plain stupid, and essentially cutting off our noses to spite our face.

Grégoire Guillaume 3 years, 11 months ago

it's pretty simple, if you fell on hard times and didn't have health care but needed it, would you be for Medicaid expansion? Or do you feel that because I have mine and I am pretty great that you can just go and ...........

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