Daily Archives: April 17, 2013

What should Congress do post-Boston?

Is there more Congress can do to respond to the Boston Marathon bombings? “I don’t think so,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday, while noting that law enforcement officials “are going to have all the resources they need.” Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, predicted that cuts to police departments will become a big issue in the months ahead, and suggested the U.S. can better reallocate resources to reflect modern warfare. “Last month, the last M1 tank departed Europe for the first time since D-Day,” Pompeo told Politico. “We probably should’ve done that 10 years ago – we’re slow to change to the evolving threats.”

Drug-screening law more punitive than beneficent

Kansas’ new law to drug test some recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash assistance or unemployment benefits is narrower than the one that sparked a long court case in Florida, so it should lead to fewer tests and legal problems. But it requires that welfare applicants or recipients be screened “when reasonable suspicion exists” that they are using a controlled substance, which seems a subjective standard at best. It will cost the state an estimated $1 million next year and require four additional state employees. And as Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill Tuesday, it was disappointing to see him join those claiming the law’s main purpose is to help people by providing treatment. Who doubts that for many of the 29 senators and 106 representatives who voted for the bill, the motivation was more punitive than beneficent, and based on the myth that drug abuse is rampant among welfare recipients?

Mandate-lite insurance doesn’t meet mandate

Before passing a bill that eliminates most mandates on health insurance, shouldn’t the Kansas House first make sure that such stripped-down coverage meets the coverage standards of the Affordable Care Act? But when asked on the House floor whether the “mandate-lite” policies qualified, Rep. Phil Hermanson, R-Wichita, vice chairman of the House Insurance Committee, said he didn’t know. “At this point, I couldn’t dissect everything that’s covered or not covered,” he said. Yet the House approved the bill anyway. So would the policies qualify? No, said Linda Sheppard, director of the Kansas Insurance Department Division of Accident and Health.