As I wrote earlier this week, Kansas was one of the red states considering accepting the Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare…when can we stop akaing this thing?).
Well the Kansas state legislature passed the bill authorizing the request, but solid gold Tea Party ideologue Governor Sam Brownback vetoed the bill leaving 150,000 low income Kansans from gaining access to health insurance. And here is some of his reasoning:
“I am vetoing this expansion of ObamaCare because it fails to serve the truly vulnerable before the able-bodied, lacks work requirements to help able-bodied Kansans escape poverty, and burdens the state budget with unrestrainable entitlement costs,” Brownback said in his veto message.
First, those who gain health insurance via the Medicaid expansion are certainly poor and by any standards vulnerable people.
Second, this is a health insurance program not a jobs program or educational program or retraining program…he is more than welcome to start any of those he sees fit to start.
Third, the federal government is picking up 90% of the bill and the only ones putting that at risk are his cohorts in the House of Representatives and the White House. But like Governor Walker’s similar excuse…this may be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And of course there is some opposition to the governor’s position from the very people helping those who are being left out of the health insurance loop, the disabled and partially employed:
Sean Gatewood, spokesman for the KanCare Advocates Network, a group that represents disabled Medicaid beneficiaries, said that Brownback needs to stop using the disability community as an excuse to oppose Medicaid expansion.
“He needs to check the record. The disability community’s 100 percent behind this,” Gatewood said. “People are caught in that gap who have disabilities. They just don’t necessarily meet the Social Security guidelines. He’s completely off base.”
Amy Falk, CEO of Health Partnership Clinic, a safety net clinic network with locations in Johnson County, said that many of the people using her clinics work part time jobs and are not eligible for benefits through their employer. Other patients served by her clinics would have an easier time working if their health needs were addressed.
“We see time and time again, individuals who have chronic health conditions that, if they were managed, could be working, productive members of our community,” she said. “When you’re diabetic and your sugars aren’t right, you’re not going to work.”
She said Medicaid expansion would have enabled Health Partnership Clinic to serve more people.
And then we get to the crux of the matter…Planned Parenthood. Sigh:
Brownback targeted Planned Parenthood in his veto message. The women’s health care provider receives Medicaid reimbursement for birth control, cancer screenings and other services but not abortions as Brownback’s veto message implies.
“Most grievously, this legislation funnels more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. From its infancy, the state of Kansas has affirmed the dignity and equality of each human life. I will not support this legislation that continues to fund organizations that undermine a culture of life,” Brownback said. [emphasis mine]
So he opposes funding organizations that undermine the culture of life? What exactly has his organization (the Republican Party) become if not a group that undermines the culture of life? Support life Governor Brownback and support the Medicaid expansion for your own vulnerable citizens!