Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on Medicaid expansion, walking and missile treaty (Feb. 10, 2019)

Rural health and Medicaid expansion

Rural Kansas health care providers are in a financial crisis. One of the key factors contributing to this crisis is our state’s failure to expand KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program.

The data and research couldn’t be more clear. The large majority of rural hospital closures in recent years have taken place in states – like Kansas – that have not expanded their Medicaid programs. Rural hospitals in these states are six times more likely to close than those in expansion states.

Opponents often point out that urban care providers will get most of the financial benefit from KanCare expansion. It’s true that large urban facilities will receive more funding, but that’s because they treat more patients, not because they have “gamed the system” to get a bigger share.

In truth, additional revenue from KanCare expansion is extremely important to the bottom lines of rural health care centers. Thirty percent of these facilities – more than 30 hospitals in Kansas – are considered financially vulnerable. Expansion may not be the entire solution for these providers, but it’s a necessary piece.

Kansas has the opportunity to make health care coverage available for 150,000 low income Kansans. The majority of them have jobs that do not provide insurance. Most others are unable to work because of health issues or disability. They need health care to move into the workforce.

Gov. Laura Kelly has released a KanCare expansion bill. Now it’s time for lawmakers to step up and do the right thing by supporting it.

Harold Perkins, chief medical officer, Genesis Family Health Center in Garden City

Government and walking

Our betters have spoken and derided us little people for wanting to park near the new baseball stadium.

Only government could get away with going against strong market forces. Wal-Mart doesn’t try to make me park across a river and parade over a bridge on a hot summers day or a cold winters morning. They know I would go to Target instead.

The beauty of Wichita’s plan is they don’t have any competition. It also doesn’t hurt that, if the park loses money, Johnny Taxpayer is always there to bail them out.

Joshua McClure, Colwich

On missile treaty, trust buy verify

During the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signing ceremony, President Reagan used the now familiar Russian maxim to characterize the treaty’s approach: Doveryai no proveryai — trust but verify.

A stringent verification regime formed the foundation of the treaty obligating the destruction of American and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Since 2014, however, the State Department has openly documented Russia’s violation in its annual Report on Adherence. Furthermore, Iran, China, and North Korea, which are not subject to the Treaty, have all developed their own intermediate range missiles -- missiles the U.S. is not allowed to develop. In short, after over 30 engagements with Russia to address their non-compliance, it is not in the national security interest of the United States to be unilaterally bound by the INF Treaty.

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “When treaties are broken, the violators must be confronted, and the treaties must be fixed or discarded. Words should mean something.” Thus, as the U.S. continues to review and negotiate other agreements, the message to the world is clear: The United States will only be party to agreements that verifiably serve its interests. Trust but verify.

Scott Bishop, Wichita