Gov. Jeff Colyer has done his best to present a more moderate approach to governing.
It’s a ruse.
Colyer, now running for governor, is desperate to separate himself from former Gov. Sam Brownback, who left behind messes on many fronts.
In one particularly critical way — objecting to Medicaid expansion — Colyer proved he’s still aligned with Brownback, even as Kansans show strong support for Medicaid expansion as a way to insure more poor residents and inject needed dollars into rural hospitals struggling to stay open.
Medicaid expansion would add an estimated 145,000 new beneficiaries to the state’s existing Medicaid program known as KanCare.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) allowed Kansas and other states to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds annually by expanding health-care eligibility for low-income residents. By balking, Kansas reportedly has turned away more than $2.6 billion — and counting — since 2014.
But just like Brownback, Colyer won’t budge.
Their objection centered on the lack of a work requirement to be eligible for coverage — a provision that only would continue to deny access to health care for many Kansans in need, and could even increase the number of uninsured.
Seeking work to escape poverty is an important objective, which is why it’s necessary to fund programs designed to encourage employment. Blocking access to health care to motivate people, however, is neither humane nor prudent.
It’s only a politically motivated stab at anything related to former President Obama.
Kansas may be among mostly Republican-led states refusing to expand Medicaid under the ACA, but 33 states that have pursued expansion include a number of red states.
Kansas should follow suit and enact the sensible change Kansans proved they wanted through polls and the recent election of numerous state legislators who agreed to endorse Medicaid expansion.
Yet Colyer stubbornly clings to his fellow ultraconservative’s position, and if elected will do the same with other key issues. That’s the last thing we need in a state already trying to rebound from numerous setbacks during the Brownback years.
Kansas doesn’t deserve Brownback 2.0. Consider Colyer’s hurtful stand on Medicaid expansion reason enough to dismiss him from consideration in the governor’s race.