Kansas Governor Asked to Veto Bill Putting State in
Charge of Medicare, Medicaid, Their Federal Funds
Wichita Eagle tries to stop this effort it calls a
“real and present danger”
Brought to You Now by Your State
April 10, 2014 – Many of America’s senior citizens
may not be aware of the threat posed to Medicare and senior health
benefits covered by Medicaid and the Affordable Care Are. Much of the
attack is happening in states and is below the radar of national media.
Actions by Republicans in Kansas provide a clear picture of the danger,
as explained in an editorial that appeared this week in the Wichita
The Eagle editorial calls on Gov. Sam Brownback, a
Republican, to veto a bill passed in the Kansas House that would give
the State of Kansas control of Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act
and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. They would also take
control of all the federal dollars spent on these programs in Kansas.
Eagle editorial: Senior citizens
need to rise up against health care compact
8, 2014 - Kansas senior citizens need to rise up and demand that Gov.
Sam Brownback veto a bill that could put the state in charge of
Medicare. And during elections later this year, seniors – and other
voters – should hold lawmakers accountable for supporting such a radical
The issue is that serious, and the
recklessness that unacceptable.
With all the focus this past weekend on the
school-funding debate, many people may not realize that the Legislature
also approved a bill to have Kansas join a compact of states seeking to
exempt themselves from federal health care rules. House Bill 2553 would
give the state all of the federal funding for the Affordable Care Act,
Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and grant
the state full authority to determine how that money is spent and which
rules, regulations and policies are followed.
Initially, the bill was dismissed by many
observers as yet more GOP grandstanding against Obamacare. It also
wasn’t taken too seriously because Congress must approve the compact,
and that won’t happen with the U.S. Senate controlled by Democrats. But
given the strong possibility that Republicans will gain full control of
Congress after the November elections, this issue is no longer just
benign political posturing: It’s a real and present danger.
Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, offered an
amendment to exclude Medicare from the compact, but House members – all
Republicans – rejected it. Not only that, some argued that seniors would
be better off if Kansas controlled Medicare.
“The health care compact helps to protect
the future of Medicare,” said Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Shawnee.
Seriously? Has he tried renewing a driver’s
license or registering to vote in Kansas? KanCare can’t even pay doctors
and hospitals on time.
What type of new bureaucracy would the state
need to manage Medicare? What would be the rules? Would seniors continue
to receive the prescription-drug benefits that are part of the ACA
(which so far have saved Kansans on Medicare nearly $94 million)? What
happens if there is another economic downturn and the state is short of
The fact is, lawmakers have no idea how the
compact, which was cooked up by an out-of-state group, would work.
“It could jeopardize the coverage and
benefits that seniors have come to count on,” Kansas Insurance
Commissioner Sandy Praeger warned – to no avail.
And it’s not only seniors who could be
affected. So would some Kansans with disabilities and children. And even
though the bill excludes military health care, most veterans who are 65
and older get their primary health care through Medicare.
This bill is not the serious, careful
policymaking that is necessary when dealing with the lives and
well-being of vulnerable citizens.
Kansans have put up with a lot with these
lawmakers. This time they’ve gone too far.
• For the editorial board, written by
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