Living in a dead zone



March 31, 2017 - 12:00 AM

On Wednesday, Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed the Kansas Legislature’s decision to expand Medicaid, despite the fact that it passed overwhelmingly in both houses; despite the fact that 82 percent of Kansans favor it.
Earlier this month, legislators gave the governor a budget that would have helped right our sinking ship.
Again, the governor’s black spot, despite the fact that 67 percent of Kansans favored the plan.
This is not representative democracy. Our elected officials are disregarding the people’s will.
This is why rural America, especially, has the reputation of electing people who vote against their best interests.
It is not in our best interest to bankrupt the state with income tax breaks, yet in 2012 we elected a legislature that did just that.
The majority does not want guns on college campuses or in hospitals, yet our elected officials have given it the green light. (Mind you, guns are still off-limits where they gather — the state Capitol.)
And the majority of Kansans favor lower — much lower — taxes on food; yet last year those became the highest in the nation.
VOTERS NEED to do a better job of vetting candidates.
And those who have common sense, need to throw their hats in the ring.
Had Kansas expanded Medicaid from the get-go, a long seven years ago, our new hospital would be paid off. Instead, it’s facing mounting debt as it is forced to provide “free” services to those who are not insured. If KanCare were expanded, Allen County could expect to see $1.8 million in federal funds each year. More importantly, expansion would see that 430 Allen County residents would have health insurance.
So when our Sen. Caryn Tyson says it’s too expensive, tell her of these losses, in both human and capital terms.
Areas such as ours — rife with poverty and with little hope of government assistance — are referred to as “dead zones.”
Yes, it feels like an insult, but don’t take it personally. Instead, put the blame where it belongs: Our elected officials. Their actions are punitive to the poor and disabled, bringing us all down.
For many of our legislators, this is an ideological battle. Even though they recognize expanding Medicaid would bring an infusion of cash our way, they have an aversion to helping the poor. This bootstrap mentality works to create only more division in our society, making us a people of the haves and have-nots; the “deserving” and the not.
Legislators are expected to pick up the Medicaid expansion debate next week to see if they have enough votes to override the governor’s veto.
Sen. Caryn Tyson has voted against both the budget proposal and to expand KanCare. Write her today and tell her your thoughts. Time is a wastin’.

May 18, 2017
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