Letter to the Editor: One hundred sixty-two residents are eligible for Medicaid

Dear Editor,

One hundred and sixty two – the number of Nemaha County uninsured residents who would become eligible for Medicaid with expansion. Forty-nine new jobs would be created in Nemaha County with Medicaid expansion which would translate to $1,458,000 in new annual health care spending in the county. (Figures from Alliance for a Healthy Kansas.) Yet Senator Dennis Pyle continues to vote against Medicaid expansion in Kansas. We, the voters in his district, have one final opportunity this legislative session to call Senator Pyle and urge him to vote Yes on Medicaid expansion. On April 26, senators will decide whether to give Medicaid expansion a full floor debate or block discussion of health insurance coverage for low-income Kansans for another year. These low-income Kansans are the elderly, the “working poor” and children. When they don’t have health care coverage, they use emergency room services and that drives the cost of insurance up for everyone. These are the contact numbers for Senator Pyle as listed on the Kansas Legislative website: office, 785-296-7379 and home 785-742-3780. Call before April 26 and ask him to allow floor debate on this issue. Need more numbers? Here they are for Senator Pyle’s district (basically northeast Kansas): 1,519 residents in the region eligible for Medicaid; 460 jobs created; and $13,671,000 in additional health care spending. Your federal tax dollars are already going to other states to fund their Medicaid programs. Are we going to continue to be one of ten states who don’t take care of the medical needs of their citizens? Will we continue to see rural hospitals close because legislators will not listen to us? Kansas sits here alone without expanding Medicaid. All of the states surrounding us have expanded it: Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma. Why is Senator Pyle avoiding bringing this issue up for debate?

Anna Wilhelm

Holton, KS



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