Coverage gap – Thanks to the stubbornness of conservative Kansas lawmakers – who seemingly hate anything attached to President Obama more than they care about the residents of their hometowns – nearly 60,000 Kansans will find they are too poor to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Kansas lawmakers during the 2013 session didn’t take up Medicaid expansion except to produce a measure barring Gov. Sam Brownback from accepting the expansion without approval from the Legislature – meaning that of Kansas’ approximately 106,000 uninsured below the federal poverty level of $11,490 for an individual or $23,550 for a family of four, about 58,000 people will be caught in a Medicaid coverage gap. While those lawmakers who have dug in their heels against Obamacare can spend the off-season talking up their roles as spending watchdogs, they should be honest about what their decisions will cost Kansas – in both money and morality – and consider making common sense and compassion part of the 2014 legislative session.
ACA – Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, along with most of the GOP, looks like a sore loser. They will begin to look just plain heartless once the Affordable Care Act is implemented fully and the goal of universal coverage – which really is about saving lives and improving people’s quality of life – takes hold. Instead of boasting about train wrecks and fighting to undermine the laws of the United States, Pompeo should try to become part of the solution and find ways to improve ACA.
Arkansas City Traveler
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Rural zones – Gov. Sam Brownback is on to something with his policy of creating rural opportunity zones across Kansas. Originally from a rural area, Brownback knows the value of maintaining small and medium-sized communities, which are largely middle class. Kansas is a stronger economy if it has a diverse populace spread statewide rather than a few big farms and a few big cities and a dying set of small towns. This is why Brownback’s tax policy that heavily favors very rich Kansans rather than the middle class is unsustainable and damaging to a diverse economy. In contrast, the governor’s policy on rural opportunity zones could have a lasting effect and help curb the rural depopulation that pushes our taxes higher as our tax base shrinks.
Wind energy – The U.S. Energy Department recently reported that, for the first time, wind became the top source of new U.S. electricity generation over a single year. Kansas ranks third in the nation in the percentage of electricity generation from wind, and it’s ranked ninth in total wind-generating capacity, up from 14th in the previous year. This is a good time to credit Gov. Sam Brownback for his stalwart support of the wind industry. Most other top Republican officeholders in Kansas hewed to the party line that federal subsidies for wind should have died in Congress in 2012. But Brownback consistently advocated that investing in wind was an excellent way to produce jobs as well as electricity in Kansas.
Kansas City Star
Kansas Chamber – Area lawmakers who didn’t make the Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s “pro-jobs” list should not feel slighted. First, it’s necessary to consider the source. And Kansans should take a hard look at those state lawmakers favored by an organization intent on serving the rich at great cost to others in the state.
Garden City Telegram