Joan Wagnon and Kansas Democrats need to stop deceiving seniors about the Health Care Compact and Medicare


The Democrat Party of Kansas has been scaring seniors by making the false claim that the Health Care Compact Act will take away their Medicare. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the federal government (Obama) that has taken approximately $700 Billion dollars from Medicare to prop up “Obamacare.”

The legislation’s intent is to give Kansas citizens health care options that would be overseen by Kansans, not by an unelected bureaucrat in Washington. The compact would only become viable if first approved by the feds, and secondly enacted by a future legislature. All health care monies would have to spent for their intended purpose.

The principal of the bill is to be pro-patient, and to preserve and enhance medical options for Kansas citizens. When signing the bill, the Governor conveyed the clear understanding by all that we would “strongly oppose any effort at the state level to reduce Medicare benefits or coverage for Kansas seniors.”

Brownback’s own words

Gov. Sam Brownback (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Here is a snippet of Gov. Sam Brownback’s own words on this matter followed by a link to a PDF of actual bill that passed:
“Similar to the KanCare reforms to Medicaid, the Compact could play an important role in preserving and enhancing Medicare for Kansas seniors. Under the Compact, I would support reversal of the unfortunate Medicare cuts initiated by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Furthermore, I would strongly oppose any effort at the state level to reduce Medicare benefits or coverage for Kansas seniors. I have signed House Bill 2553 with this understanding, and I will work to make it a reality when the Compact becomes effective.”

To read Brownback’s full statement and the actual bill, click the link to read HB2553.

From Rep. Ray Merrick, Speaker of the House

Rep. Ray Merrick

I wanted to share this message from the Kansas Speaker of the House Ray Merrick. He reiterates the idea that Republicans are trying to strengthen Medicare, not obliterate it.
Read what he has to say:
“I am a senior. A veteran. Both my wife and I are on Medicare. I know the challenges our seniors face better than many because I have walked in their shoes.

As the Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives let me put one thing to rest. Unequivocally and without question Republicans have no desire or intention to take over Medicare. Period. End of story.

Governor Brownback has echoed the same sentiments. And the Republican legislature stands in solidarity with him.

It is no secret that the implementation of ObamaCare, the sweeping healthcare reform law passed without a single Republican vote, has been a disaster. Our own former Democrat governor, Kathleen Sebelius resigned from her post as HHS Secretary in an attempt to shield the Obama Administration from further fallout. States across the country have sought ways to exempt their citizens from portions of the law that has led a great policy divide in our country.

To protect Kansans and enable more individual control over healthcare and ultimately improve the quality of care Kansans enjoy, we joined a compact with nine other states – including Missouri. The terms of the compact require Congressional approval – meaning nothing will happen without action by Congress.

The purpose of the compact is twofold. First, it would allow Kansas to repeal and replace ObamaCare. This would grant Kansans widespread access to healthcare regardless of pre-existing conditions. It would eliminate the highly unpopular individual mandate, the economy crippling employer mandate, and the very high cost essential benefit mandate.

Repealing and replacing ObamaCare in Kansas would actually help protect Medicare for Kansas seniors. ObamaCare has robbed over $700 billion from Medicare. In Kansas alone that translates to $4.8 billion in federal cuts to Medicare, meaning over 30,000 Kansas seniors could lose their Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare needs to remain strong and fully funded for our seniors. The healthcare compact and repealing ObamaCare would help ensure it is viable for my children and grandchildren’s generation.

The second purpose of the healthcare compact is to shed the federal bureaucracy imposed on Medicaid — the healthcare system for low-income and disabled citizens — in favor of a block grant. This is something leaders of the Johnson County Commission on Aging indicated they support. Since Medicaid is funded 60 percent by the federal government, and 40 percent by the state, this would give Kansas greater influence over this state-run program. More local control means better access to healthcare for the people who depend on it most.

A realistic evaluation of the chances that the healthcare compact will come to fruition indicate it’s unlikely. The U.S. Congress will likely not approve its passage given the divided nature of our federal government. However, Kansas Republicans wanted to join the effort, because if it does become an option, we want Kansans to be free from the regulations of ObamaCare and to stop the program from robbing future funding from Medicare.

While ultimately the compact may never be passed, it does prove an important policy point. Kansas Republicans believe healthcare solutions are best decided between you, your family and your doctor. Government should be a safety net for those in need but it shouldn’t impose regulations or restrictions that drive up costs, hurt the quality of care or put some un-named bureaucrat in charge of your healthcare decisions.
Obamacare runs counter to those policy positions that Kansas Republicans support – which is why we will continue working to find free-market, state-based solutions rather than a huge federal government over-reach.”

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