Letters to the Editor

Letter from Gov. Sam Brownback on his Medicaid expansion veto

Obamacare is failing. Americans from coast to coast have seen their health care costs skyrocket, their coverage options deteriorate, and their state budgets balloon as a result of this crumbling legislation. Now, liberals in the Kansas legislature want us to expand Obamacare. I am standing up for Kansans and saying no.

I vetoed Obamacare expansion because it does not help vulnerable Kansans. I vetoed it because it is irresponsible and unsustainable. I vetoed it because it sends taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.

Medicaid expansion does not help vulnerable Kansans. Instead, it prioritizes able-bodied adults above the truly needy. This bill enlarges the entitlement state without providing a pathway out of poverty for the program’s recipients. As we’ve seen in our Kansas welfare-to-work reforms, the most effective programs restore hope through the dignity of work. But Medicaid expansion does not require able-bodied adults to seek work, job training, or educational opportunities to qualify.

The cost of expanding Obamacare is also irresponsible and unsustainable. A third party health care organization estimates that Medicaid expansion will cost Kansas taxpayers over $1.2 billion in the coming years. Other states have seen Medicaid expansion more than double projections for costs. As our state’s economy recovers from the rural recession that has hit our agriculture and oil markets, we simply cannot afford such a hefty expense. Proponents of Medicaid expansion claim it could be budget neutral, but the budgets of other states say otherwise. This entitlement program for able-bodied adults will greatly increase government spending.

The Kansas legislature refused to strip Planned Parenthood of increased funding when passing this bill. This means that Medicaid expansion funnels taxpayer dollars to the abortion industry, which is antithetical to human dignity. Kansas is a pro-life state, respecting the dignity and equality of each unique human life, and we do not want our tax dollars supporting abortion providers. I will not support this legislation that continues to fund organizations that undermine a culture of life.

Kansans want a responsible solution to the challenges facing our health care industry. This is why I will continue to support Congress in their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. I vetoed Obamacare expansion because Kansas should serve the truly vulnerable, restore the dignity of work for struggling Kansans, and not absorb an unrestrainable burden on the state’s budget. As Obamacare continues to crumble, I will keep fighting for Kansas and standing up against an expansion of this failed entitlement program.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback