About 75 people on Friday gathered outside the Statehouse, calling for Gov. Sam Brownback to support an expansion of Medicaid, the state and federally funded program that covers the cost of health care services for nearly 400,000 Kansans, mostly children, pregnant women and those with disabilities.
Rev. Joshua Longbottom, of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, was one of several speakers at the rally. He said Jesus would have supported the expansion.
"If Jesus was up in the Capitol, would he make a choice to keep 130,000 people without care," Longbottom asked. The crowd responded "No."
Under the Affordable Care Act, the state has the option to extend Medicaid coverage to include all children and adults under the age of 65 who live at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that is an annual income of $30,657 or less. Extending the Medicaid program in 2014 could help provide access to as many as 130,000 more Kansans, according to the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition.
The federal government would cover of the cost of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years and most of the cost after that.
Republicans and some Democrats have expressed concerns that because of federal budget problems, the federal government may not be able to carry through with its funding commitment.
And Brownback has been an ardent opponent of the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday he announced he would block an effort by Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger for a state-federal partnership in starting a health insurance exchange under the ACA. That means the federal government will have to do it.
Douglas County has sometimes been called an island of blue in a sea or red in Kansas, meaning it votes Democratic while most of the rest of the state votes Republican.
But the blue dot becomes even more noticeable in the Midwest when looking at a national map of county results. There is blue Douglas and Wyandotte, which went for President Barack Obama.
And then there is a sea of red — counties where Republican Mitt Romney secured a majority of votes — that includes all of Oklahoma, all of Nebraska, except for one county, and all of Missouri, except for three counties. Farther south, Texas is mostly red until Dallas County and Travis County and then a belt of blue in South Texas.
Here is a link to the New York Times presidential election map by counties. link text