Daily Archives: Feb. 25, 2013

Local doctors backing Medicaid expansion

Officers of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County are hoping that Gov. Sam Brownback allows the federal expansion of Medicaid. Society president Bart Grelinger told The Eagle editorial board that the Medicaid program in Kansas is currently “one of the worst in the nation” in terms of eligibility criteria, and that “there is not really a downside” to the expansion. Donna Sweet, society president-elect, said that Medicaid should be expanded for compassion reasons, but that it also makes economic sense. A study released last week by the Kansas Hospital Association estimated that the expansion would inject more than $3 billion into the state’s economy, would create 4,000 jobs over the next seven years, and could save the state more money than it costs.

Brownback should follow Scott’s lead on Medicaid

There likely was no governor who opposed federal health care reform more than Florida Gov. Rick Scott (in photo). But when it came to deciding whether to allow a federal expansion of Medicaid, Scott put the interests of citizens before his own ideology and preferences – as Gov. Sam Brownback also should do. Scott said last week: “Quality health care services must be accessible and affordable for all – not just those in certain ZIP codes or tax brackets.… While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care.”

Balanced-budget amendment still a bad idea

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is backing a new effort to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. “It is time to stop the reckless spending in Washington and restore some fiscal sanity to our country,” he said in a statement. But conservative commentator Ramesh Ponnuru contends that a balanced-budget amendment is a bad idea. “A strict balanced-budget rule would force spending cuts or tax increases at times of economic weakness,” he noted, which could make the economy worse. Another big concern is that the courts likely would be responsible for enforcing the amendment. Ponnuru wrote: “The result would be a major expansion of judicial power over American life, brought to us by the party that has rightly warned against the growth of that very power for decades.”