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PREVIEW: Results from last week's survey, fixing a flat tire, and how Medicaid expansion in Kansas may have a twist.
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My Two Cents of Common Sense
"Northwest Kansas holds some truly inspiring scenery, contains a wealth of Old West history, possesses some of the finest educational institutions, promotes an entrepreneurial spirit, and is home to some of the most hard-working, genuine people I've ever met!"    ~ Adam Smith
1970 RD 3 Weskan, KS 67762
785-821-2568 (Cell)
300 SW 10th St, Suite 512N Topeka, KS  66612
785-296-0715 (Office)
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Results are in!
Survey results on school finance, Medicaid, and marijuana
Medicaid Expansion Passes House
Will Kansas join 36 other states? If so, it will be with a twist...
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Survey Results

First of all, thank you to all who participated in my mid-session survey. I was intrigued with some of the results - they were somewhat different than I had expected!

Out of 148 responses, 119 came from the six county area that is my 120th legislative district. While I was curious about the total opinions, the numbers that mean the most to me are the results from my district. Those are what I share below...

Do you support or oppose Medicaid expansion?
Respondents showed nearly 55% support and 16% opposed, but the surprise to me here was the large neutral position of nearly 30%. Medicaid expansion has been in the news on a regular basis in the past few years and I would not have guessed such a large portion of neutral responses.
 

Do you support or oppose the Supreme Court ruling in the Gannon lawsuit on school finance stating that additional funding is necessary for K-12 Education?
 
Here we saw a strong 66% in favor, with about 22% opposed, and 11% neutral. This result didn't surprise me much as it mirrors the replies I hear when I'm at town hall meetings throughout the district visiting with people in the communities. I would also state that this graph could also represent the feelings of the legislative body as well... although the amount of money necessary to satisfy the Supreme Court is still strongly debated.
 

Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment stating the Supreme Court has authority over school funding distribution and the legislature has authority over school funding appropriations?
No surprise here, once again the results followed closely with what I hear visiting with residents in northwest Kansas. Support and opposition for this measure has fluctuated significantly over the past few years, and support seems to have subsided at this time. This is also similar to the attitude in the legislature, and I don't anticipate any movement on a constitutional amendment this year.


Do you support or oppose legalization of recreational marijuana?
The only question to receive more negative response than a school finance constitutional amendment was... you guessed it! Recreational Marijuana! I'll be honest, I was a little bit surprised around 55% opposition... I figured it would have been closer to 75%! In full disclosure, I do receive NUMEROUS emails wanting recreational marijuana, but extremely few are from northwest Kansas.
 

Do you support or oppose legalization of medicinal marijuana?
Here was my big surprise... nearly 70% of responders support medical marijuana. In visiting with other legislators that have surveyed their district with this similar question, the results are not an anomaly. Some statewide surveys show close to 80% approval for this. I might be convinced to make this vote if someone could prove reliable quality control measures, proper prescription levels for specific conditions, and proper oversight to guarantee a safe product for treatment.
 
Kansas Medicaid: Expansion with a twist

If you have a low tire on your car, do you have it repaired for $20, or do you continue to drive on it until it’s completely ruined and it costs you $200 for a new tire?

That’s the decision about 150,000 Kansans without health insurance face when they get sick. Do they go to the local health clinic and seek treatment, or do they just hope they’ll get better on their own? If they don’t feel they can afford the doctor visit and the medication prescribed, they will probably just try to tough it out and hope their own immune system can get them going strong again.

But what happens when it doesn’t? All of a sudden that visit to the clinic turns into a dash to the emergency room, and the preventative medicine that could have helped earlier becomes only a fraction of the cost of their hospital bill from the ER.

How does someone on limited income pay a $10,000 or more hospital bill? They don’t, and a large portion (if not all of it) eventually becomes a write-off for the hospital.

Uncompensated Emergency Care is one of the largest issues plaguing rural hospitals.

Medicaid expansion isn’t about getting a big fat check from the federal government for some guy setting at home watching TV because he’s too lazy to work. It’s about providing a healthcare option for that single parent who is struggling to make ends meet, or the parent that lost their job and new employment doesn’t provide the hours or the same pay or insurance benefits for their family.

It’s about getting that tire fixed before it’s ruined.

Expanding accessibility to early preventative healthcare could alleviate crisis health situations, reduce hospital operating losses, and ultimately lead to healthier rural community.

Kansas expansion has a twist... let’s talk numbers.

While 36 other states have expanded their access to healthcare, only a handful of states charge a coverage fee. It won’t be free healthcare. People tend to abuse free benefits, so the Kansas bill implements a $25 a month fee – about 82 cents per person per day.

The cost this year to the state of Kansas is estimated to be $47.4M. Using the estimated 150,000 Kansans that could be eligible, that’s $313 a year – about 86 cents per person per day.

Kansas also installed a provision that if the federal reimbursement ever fails to meet their obligations, the state expansion program ends.

In a recent survey of my district, 54.5% of the responders favored Medicaid expansion, 29.5% were neutral, and 16% opposed.

In their most recent survey from 2017, the American Cancer Society reported Kansans support 68.1%, neutral 19.3%, and oppose 12.6%.

A 2018 survey by The Commonwealth Fund looked at expansion in Kansas, Indiana, and Ohio and reported that Kansas was broadly consistent with 40 other states, and specifically support 77%, neutral 11%, and oppose 11%.

In all of these surveys, including mine, the proposed question was full Medicaid expansion. The additional provisions of adding a $25 fee and termination terms if the federal government failed to meet their obligations were NOT included. I would speculate that approval might increase further in northwest Kansas with the additional provisions, but I would not presume those results until I completed another survey.

This was not a vote I took lightly. There are many pros and cons to this proposal. Much of the stigma surrounding the Affordable Care Act has not subsided, even though repeated attempts at repealing or modifying it have failed in Congress. There is a lot of speculation on the accuracy of the estimates regarding the program, both enrollment and cost analysis. But that is why we implemented a fee nearly identical to the estimated costs – it will help buffer any unanticipated expenses.

The bill now goes to the Senate for their debate and vote.
Capitol Connection

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Consumer Health Complete covers all areas of health and wellness.  Did your doctor prescribe a new medication? Recently diagnosed with a condition? Look it up here.  Designed for the everyday consumer, this online database provided by the State Library of Kansas offers popular reference books, medical encyclopedias, fact sheets, and magazine articles. This full text database covers topics such as aging, nutrition, cancer, fitness, drugs and alcohol, even yoga. https://kslib.info/ConHealth
 
If the page above asks for a Kansas Library eCard number, you may get one at any library in Kansas.  Most people will be automatically recognized as being in Kansas and will not need this step.   Questions: kslc@ks.gov or 785-296-3296.
 
I strive to create and maintain constituent relationships through good communication. Two-way communication is essential to my effectiveness as a legislator in promoting successful solutions for Northwest Kansas! Please consider subscribing to my contact list or send me an email and I will add you.
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