Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, once infamously advised, “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Kansas Democrats are heeding his directive. Today, as hospitals nationwide face the ramifications of Obamacare, Democrats are clamoring for an antidote to their self-inflicted wound. They think Medicaid Expansion is the solution. They are wrong. Problems facing rural hospitals are real, but Medicaid Expansion is nothing more than a perpetuation of the original offender—Obamacare.
Liberals know the political toxicity of Obamacare, so they’ve continued their call for government run healthcare under the name of Medicaid Expansion. This masquerading component of Obamacare is riddled with fiscal solvency issues, but Governor Brownback’s primary objection is a moral one: Medicaid Expansion creates new entitlements for able-bodied adults without dependents, prioritizing those who choose not to work before intellectually, developmentally, and physically disabled, the frail and elderly, and those struggling with mental health issues. This isn’t just bad policy, this is morally reprehensible.
Medicaid Expansion will not fix the Obamacare induced problems facing local hospitals. Many rural hospitals are struggling because of onerous Obamacare regulations and structures that rob Medicare to pay for Medicaid, to the tune of over half a trillion dollars nationwide. As federal Medicare reimbursements decrease, rural health care providers experience growing financial gaps. Mercy Hospital of Independence was forced to close, citing “shrinking reimbursement” as a driving factor. And let’s be clear: Medicaid Expansion would primarily benefit a small number of big city hospitals, not smaller rural hospitals like Mercy. Furthermore, bloated costs continue to plague states that expanded Medicaid. Ohio and Illinois each saw state costs exceed original estimates by over $1 billion dollars. Kansas cannot afford a program that neglects to serve those most in need. The Obama administration refuses even to permit hope-restoring job training or work requirements for able-bodied adults.
Those who say Medicaid Expansion would save the Independence Hospital are lying. It wouldn’t. Instead, this Obamacare ruse funnels money to big city hospitals, creates a new entitlement class, and fails to rightly prioritize service for disabled citizens. Governor Brownback will maintain his commitment to provide care to vulnerable Kansans before able-bodied adults.
Deputy Communications Director
Office of Governor Sam Brownback