By Jason White
Medicaid expansion in Kansas will help 150,000 Kansans get health care, arrest the hemorrhaging of federal tax payments that taxpayers in Kansas make but never get back, lead to the creation of 13,000 jobs, help keep our rural hospitals alive and help fund our ambulance services.
While the big picture issues of how Medicaid expansion will help Kansans are well known what a lot of folks fail to understand is that most Kansans pay local county and city taxes to support their local ambulance services. Thousands of Kansans every year need the local ambulance service but are uninsured because they cannot afford private insurance, are not old enough for Medicare or make too much to qualify for Medicaid.
The debt that local hospitals, clinics and, yes, your local ambulance service rack up providing health care to those who can’t afford to pay means county commissions must cover the cost of their ambulance service.
With Medicaid expansion, the federal taxes you are paying right now that are lost in the black hole of Washington, D.C., would be supporting your local hospital, clinics and ambulance service.
The Kansas taxpayer gets hit twice. They pay their federal tax money while they must also pay to support the local ambulance service caring for those very same people.
Fiscal hawks should be concerned that Kansas federal tax dollars, over $4.3 BILLION so far and counting, cannot find their way back to Kansas while at the same time Kansas taxpayers are asked to pay local taxes to help cover up the mistake.
Thirty-eight other states have figured this out. Kansas can as well.
Jason White is a consultant for the Mid-America Regional Council