Merrick wrong about Medicaid expansion
House Speaker Ray Merrick’s justification for reassigning highly qualified Kansas House members from the committee that oversees health care issues is dishonest (Nov. 12 Eagle).
First, he asserted that Kansans oppose expanding Obamacare. It’s also true that Kansans support Obamacare, in particular the portion that deals with expansion of Medicaid. Next, he averred that it “has busted budget after budget in states that have expanded it.” That’s not even a partial truth. In fact, expanding Medicaid in Kansas would provide health care to about 150,000 currently uninsured at very little cost to Kansans. And that’s without considering the huge savings from the state’s burden of caring for the uninsured.
Merrick should reveal his true reasons, and the facts that support his position. Following the wishes of the corporately sponsored American Legislative Exchange Council requires he hide behind exaggerations, half-truths and outright lies.
Kansas can gain a huge advantage while taking a giant step toward a better health care system if the speaker will allow the majority’s voice to be represented.
Tom Savage, Bel Aire
Three are gone
Stacked-deck politics has become such a stitch in the fabric of the Kansas body politic that “outrage” passes today merely as “ordinary.”
Three state representatives who favor Medicaid expansion are unusually removed midterm from a health care oversight committee (Nov. 12 Eagle). They, like about three out of four Kansans, support better health coverage for the most vulnerable. Gov. Sam Brownback does not. Neither does House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, who makes committee assignments.
So the three are gone.
Rep. Don Hill, R-Emporia, an outspoken critic of Brownback’s fiscal policies, also was removed from his House Appropriations Committee position.
Also gone: Rep. Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills, a retired doctor and moderate Republican, and Rep. Sue Concannon, R-Beloit, the health committee’s vice chairwoman.
Merrick said: “I will continue to fight to protect Kansans from the disastrous effects of Obamacare.” Yet Medicaid is as much Obamacare as a Kansas Jayhawk is a Missouri Tiger.
Concannon said: “I haven’t done anything to undermine the chairman. I haven’t done anything to undermine the speaker. I just voiced my opinion.”
And that, my friends, is all it takes in Kansas to destroy you politically. For the farm-to-market road of Sunflower State politics is littered with extremist decay.
Finn M. Bullers, Kansas City, Kan.
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