Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Kansas: Kathleen Sebelius promises push for health care

By Diane Silver

Let's give a hearty round of applause for newly re-elected Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for declaring that one of her priorities is to provide health coverage for Kansas'300,000 uninsured residents.

That news came today from an AP report.

The fact that there is even one person in this state, or this nation, who doesn't have access to health care is ridiculous. And the facts are alarming. In the great Sunflower State, adults usually are not eligible for Medicaid unless their incomes are about $7,400 for a family of four, Sebelius said.

Less than $8,000 for a family of four?

Are you kidding? That's obscene. I can't imagine even feeding a family of four on a four-digit income, let alone finding extra money for health care.

AP reported:
Sebelius wasn't specific Wednesday about what she'll propose during the 2007 Legislature, beyond confirming that she'll renew her efforts to have the state ensure health coverage for all children though age 5. In attempting to help adults, she said, legislators, who convene Jan. 8, must consider a range of strategies, including stimulating the private insurance market.

The governor already has ruled out proposing a tax increase to finance new initiatives, an approach she took two years ago, with no success. She suggested Wednesday that she'll look seriously at reallocating some of the state's existing dollars.
I won't fault Sebelius for not giving specifics, at least not yet. What's most important, though, is that she has put this issue on the table.

It's time for the Kansas Legislature to get out of people's bedrooms (think the ban on same-sex marriage and obsessions with abortion). It's time for lawmakers to figure out how to actually help the people in this state who need help.

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