Saturday, 27 June 2015 00:00

Kansas State Senator Loses Family Member: "We Must Expand Medicaid"

Written by Chris Reeves | Daily Kos
Sen. Oletha Faust Goudeau (D) Witchita, Kansas Sen. Oletha Faust Goudeau (D) Witchita, Kansas

Kansas Republicans have stood fervently in opposition to ACA and Medicaid Expansion. In a floor speech during the tax debate, Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Johnson County) referred to Medicaid expansion as "evil," and during a conference committee handed out leaflets noting the "evils of Obamacare" as a reason to look at charging insurance providers a fee in the state of Kansas.

Faced with more than70,000 Kansas residents who receive ACA subsidized insurance, Kansas Republicans doubled down, with 70 representatives signing a letter saying they want to make sure that ACA ceases, no matter what the high court ruling.

On Monday, 70 GOP members of the Kansas Legislature sent a letter to Republican congressional leaders, urging them to repeal much of the remainder of the health care law, also known as "Obamacare," if the Supreme Court strikes down the subsidies.

"Our state of Kansas declined to establish and fund a state-run exchange," the lawmakers wrote. "We are unwilling to subject taxpayers to the millions in added costs and expanded bureaucracy associated with creating one."

The letter was written by Rep. Dan Hawkins of Wichita and Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, the respective chairs of the Kansas House and Senate health committees.

One Kansas Senator, however, has felt the direct impact of the failure to expand Medicaid in the state, and she wants to make sure people know that the failure to expand has a real-world cost.

Oletha Faust Goudeau (D), Senator from Wichita took to Facebook today to let her friends know of the tragic loss of a loved one in her family.

My niece Linda Stevenson had a heart transplant 9years ago. But, after the changes to Health providers under KanCare her regular meds were changed to generic brands which her body rejected. We need to Help Expand Medicaid in Kansas NOW Linda, was a big part of our lives with a big warm heart & we will deeply miss her. RIP honey

I had a chance to ask Sen. Goudeau about this issue, and she responded:

During our extended stay in Topeka during the tax debate  I received a phone call from my niece Linda who was in a  Wichita a Hospital in the ICU. She asked me to help her get the regular medication that worked better for her, because the doctor had informed her that United  Health would only authorize the generic brand due to the fact that the name brand cost too much! I also spoke to the nurse who confirmed what my niece told me. Well, she's gone now and I can only wonder, if the regular meds would have made a difference between life or death?

The Kancare program in Kansas has been under fire for some time, and is still subject to several pending lawsuits.

In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of Kansas, Leary said company executives met in February 2013 to discuss Sunflower's poor financial performance.

At that meeting, according to Leary, Centene's vice president of health plans, Rob Hitchcock, asked which provider networks had contracted for reimbursement rates higher than 100 percent of the standard Kansas Medicaid rates.

When he learned that the University of Kansas Medical Center was among them, he requested that the team find a way to prevent new Medicaid patients from being assigned primary-care physicians associated with KU Med.

"Ms. Leary was forced at the same time to determine how to alter the online and hard-copy provider directories to make these changes appear ... benign because KUMED administrators had not requested the closing of the member panel," the lawsuit said.

According to the Kansas Hospital Association, almost 69% of Kansans support Medicaid expansion. Despite this, Kansas Republicans remain steadfast opposed.

We will never know what would have happened if this patient had received her standard treatment. That doubt - what could have been - exists for tens of thousands of Kansans who face the upcoming decision with dread, worrying about what will happen to their insurance and health care.

Kansas Republicans remain confident in their opposition, and the fear of their constituents has not been a factor in deciding the policy that impacts healthcare for the 70,000+ Kansans who wait with trepidation the supreme court decision.

Link to original article from DailyKos

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