Today we run the responses to the fourth of our readers’ questions for the candidates running in two local statehouse primaries: incumbent Stephanie Clayton and challenger Jennifer Flood in District 19; and incumbent Barbara Bollier and challenger Neil Melton in District 21.
Here’s today’s questionnaire item:
Should the state expand Medicaid to take advantage of federal dollars and get more Kansans healthcare under the Medicaid system? If not, what strategies should the state employ to get more Kansans healthcare coverage?
Neil Melton (District 21 challenger)
Expanding Medicaid was a key component of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” I support the state’s efforts to move away from the ACA. Kansas already has a significant percentage of the population receiving Medicaid benefits, and expanding this to able bodied adults will put the state budget in jeopardy when the federal dollars go away.
Barbara Bollier (District 21 incumbent)
Expanding Medicaid would be good for Kansas for multiple reasons. I have been a vocal advocate for the expansion to take place in Kansas. Our hospitals, particularly our rural hospitals, are in financial jeopardy by not covering the patients who will be using their services and have no money to pay. From a social justice perspective, it is unconscionable to leave some of our citizens out of the health care system because of no insurance. Having health insurance will improve the health of these patients.
Bringing back the millions of dollars that Kansans have already paid in federal taxes will improve not only the health of the individuals covered but the health of our state economy. We also will receive a 90-10 match from the Federal Government for these newly covered patients, not the 60-40 match that we currently receive for those under Medicaid. That match will diminish over three years, but will be a significant boost to the healthcare system in Kansas if accepted. Accepting the expansion does not require a permanent status; if at any time we decide it is not working for Kansas, we can stop.
Stephanie Clayton (District 19 incumbent)
I would prefer that the state expand Medicaid. Currently we are sending our tax dollars to the Federal Government, and not getting any of the money — our money — back. Medicaid expansion reduces costs to local hospitals by reducing the number of emergency room visits. It also is a hand-up for the working poor.
Jennifer Flood (District 19 challenger)
Did not submit a response.
Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to our final questionnaire item:
Do you support the idea of repealing Common Core in Kansas? Why or why not?