Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on Medicaid, legislating basketball, downtown library, gun control

Use savings to expand Medicaid

It would appear that Derrick Sontag, state director of Americans for Prosperity, does not have much faith in Gov. Sam Brownback’s initiative to reform Medicaid, which is now called KanCare in the state (“State shouldn’t expand Medicaid,” Feb. 7 Opinion).

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the state will have savings of $853 million over the next five years because of KanCare. These savings occur without cutting provider rates, throwing people off the system or reducing essential benefits.

Sontag stated that the Medicaid system is broken, costly and rife with problems. He seemed to contradict all the information that has been distributed over the past two years by Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and KDHE.

Sontag stated that even if Medicaid were not a broken system, Kansas could not afford to expand coverage.

If the purported savings does turn out to be $853 million, that should be a very substantial down payment to help provide coverage for the uninsured in the state of Kansas.

It appears that AFP has very little confidence in the new KanCare initiative. I would not think the governor would be in favor of a group that has supported him in the past undermining an important initiative.



Require games

It was with great consternation that I read the editorial concerning legislation that would require annual men’s basketball games between Wichita State University and the University of Kansas and Kansas State University (“Don’t legislate basketball,” Feb. 6 Eagle Editorial).

Legislation is the only way these games will occur. It is a hackneyed argument to suggest that the Legislature has better things to do.

The Eagle editorial board has lost sight of the fact that the newspaper is called The Wichita Eagle. For 40 years I have been delusional in my belief that it was a hometown newspaper that supports both the community and the university. Obviously, I was mistaken.

Personally, I have patiently waited 50 years for these games to be played and no longer care. However, games each year against these teams would be a tremendous boost to the local economy and create a lot of excitement around the state.

It is sad that The Eagle editorial board can’t get past its myopic position.



New library?

I agreed with an Opinion Line contributor who questioned the need for a new downtown public library.

If our city’s resources were abundant, which they are not, perhaps it could be an affordable luxury.

Why not focus on the branch libraries? Most of us can search the library’s catalog online (at home or at a branch) and request delivery to our nearest branch. For those without computer experience, the library staff is most helpful.



Defend liberty

In Federalist Paper 46, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, wrote about the danger of the federal government using military force to overthrow the liberty of the people.

“The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of,” Madison wrote, noting that “the governments (of Europe) are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

This is the real concern the people have about gun control. Hunting and pleasure are relatively minor in comparison with the ability of the people to defend their liberty against government threats. For this vital purpose, it is important for the people be able to arm themselves with weapons comparable to those available to the military.

When a president threatens to unconstitutionally use an executive order to make law in place of the only government branch authorized by the Constitution to make law – the Congress – serious concerns can arise about the safety of our personal liberty.



Gun truths

The vitriolic rhetoric on both sides of the gun-control argument has become counterproductive in addressing reasonable concerns about gun violence. Both sides need to acknowledge certain truths.

For starters, America is not getting rid of all its private guns. No broad confiscation of all weapons is going to happen. The Second Amendment has been interpreted, rightly or otherwise, to imply that private citizens are a well-regulated militia.

However, reasonable restrictions are just that. Conscience dictates that we must reject the idea that our society will be at its best when all citizens are walking around armed. The notion that gun violence is inevitable, and the only happy ending to conflict is a shoot-out, is absurd.

The societal failures at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Aurora, Colo., at Virginia Tech, and in Oregon, Arizona and thousands of other places every year are not due to a lack of guns, but rather the opposite. Owning a shotgun or a hunting rifle for sporting purposes or home defense is a reasonable position for gun owners. Owning military-style high-capacity weapons for some bizarre government-versus-citizen war is deadly.

In a land where compromise is a dirty word, cooler heads must prevail and do just that.