Siemens layoffs – Commenting on the announcement last week that Siemens Wind Power will cut 256 jobs from its Hutchinson wind-turbine manufacturing plant, U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, was a real sweetie about the Kansans headed to the unemployment line. “I can’t imagine how a continued federal handout is good for Kansans,” Pompeo said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me to try and spend the money of folks here in Kansas to help a particular company or a particular industry. It always destroys jobs. These tax credits are job destroyers.” Tax credits for emerging industries “are job destroyers”? With more than 600 jobs that were created by Siemens alone in the U.S. because of this tax credit that now are being lost, just how do you get that?
KanCare – The people who deliver medical care to Kansans are expressing growing alarm as Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration moves full speed ahead on its sweeping overhaul of the state’s Medicaid program. The transformation from a mostly government-run system to a privately managed one is scheduled for Jan. 1. But at a recent meeting of the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee, stakeholders representing hospitals, nursing homes and disabled citizens said they had been unable to obtain satisfactory information about billing procedures, record-keeping requirements and quality-control issues. Groups seeking information are being stymied by secrecy on the part of officials and by the complexity of what is going on. The Brownback administration’s move toward privatized health care for the Medicaid population has been characterized from the start by an overconfidence bordering on hubris. That has to give way – quickly – to a willingness to take a cold, hard look at whether the mammoth changes being contemplated can succeed in a short time frame.
Kansas City Star
Objections Board – The State Objections Board is made up of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, all three Republicans. There is no requirement in Kansas law that the board be made up of representatives of both major parties and unaffiliated voters. This seems to be a shortcoming in the structure of Kansas government and the political process by which its leaders are chosen. Especially in a state where one party dominates, the membership of the State Objections Board should be broader and less partisan, in order to give its decisions at least some credibility.
Winfield Daily Courier
Obesity – Kansas, which already claims 30 percent of its population as obese, is predicted to hit 62 percent by the year 2030. The related health care costs could climb 11.2 percent as a result. Kansas is not just getting fatter, we’re creating an epidemic that will affect all of us. We now have a good idea what the costs soon will become. Do we have the will to do something about it?
Hays Daily News
KU slide – Not too many years ago, the University of Kansas was the academic flagship of the former Big Eight Conference. Today, in the current U.S. News and World Report magazine’s national university rankings, the only schools ranked below KU in the old Big Eight are Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Too many chancellors, faculty members and loyal KU supporters have worked hard and been generous in trying to help KU achieve excellence. They do not want excuses; they want performance, and they want the necessary changes to reverse the downward slide of KU in national rankings.