Expansion offsets inmate costs
Medicaid expansion includes federal benefits to pay medical expenses for inmates in our state prisons and local jails. This has been a windfall of federal money for other states that have expanded Medicaid. In Kansas prisons and jails, the state and local (county) taxpayers must pay the medical bills for inmates.
People who are in jail because they can’t make bail but are not yet convicted are eligible for federal Medicaid benefits. This is important for the large number of mentally ill people or substance abusers who are filling our prisons and jails. These individuals could get their needed medications in jail, be covered with medical benefits immediately when they are released (paid for by Medicaid expansion) and be less likely to return to jail. Some of these folks are homeless veterans.
Though convicted inmates are denied Medicaid benefits, if an inmate is very sick and has to be hospitalized, this person is not considered an inmate after 24 hours in the hospital, and the federal government will pick up the hospital bill.
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Last year, one inmate sent to the hospital suffering a heart attack was eventually sent to surgery for a bypass and stent. This procedure cost Sedgwick County taxpayers about $120,000. If the Legislature had expanded Medicaid, the federal government would have paid the entire amount.
Janice Bradley, Wichita
When describing the pro-life movement as not merely pro-birth, columnist Cynthia M. Allen overlooked several salient points (Jan. 30 Opinion).
First, she overlooked the fact that pro-lifers – including the Catholic church, evangelicals, and other religious groups – are the ones who so vehemently opposed health care dollars via the Affordable Care Act being used to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The religious right tries to negate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution while at every turn trying to insert their misguided religious dogma into law.
Second, it is the pro-life groups that whip up the hysteria that incites mentally unstable people to murder providers of legal abortion services.
Finally, it is the pro-lifers who elect legislators into office who side with corporate interests over workers’ interests and who would otherwise find only a limited audience.
That religious groups use funds for causes other than promoting their anti-abortion agenda does not negate the fact that without these groups’ monied influence, women across America would be in charge of their own reproductive health.
Gary Wagher, Wichita
“Lives depend on it” (Jan. 15 Letters to the Editor) was critical that Republicans seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act have not provided “the American people with any kind of alternative program.” Mind you, this letter was written even before President Trump had been inaugurated.
Apparently the letter writer has forgotten the saga of enacting President Obama’s ill-fated health care act.
While Obama repeated his false assurance that we would be able to keep our doctors and health care plans, the Democratic-controlled Congress secretly cobbled together a 2,500-page, incomprehensible monstrosity. The Democrats then resorted to creative parliamentary acrobatics, ramming it through for a vote without allowing enough time to scrutinize it. Understandably, no Republican lawmaker voted for it.
Who can forget then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s famous explanation that “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it”?
David Gudeman, Wichita
I was devastated when Donald Trump won the election, but now I’m looking at it differently. I believe President Trump is exactly what will bring about the change our country has needed for so long, because he is the natural consequence of greed, indifference and the divisive rhetoric of partisan politics.
The new president is what the dishonest Republican and spineless Democratic leaders deserve. They have finally reaped what they have sown, and although we are all getting the lesson, this president has embarrassed conservatives, energized progressives, and awakened the apathetic to a new level this country has never seen before.
I truly believe something good is going to come from this after he fails in his attempt to enrich himself and his cronies at the expense of our nation. The best lessons are always learned the hard way.
Mary Caruso, Goddard
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