Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss Medicaid expansion, Democrats breaking norms and a new national anthem

Expand Medicaid

On behalf of the 3,400 physician members of Kansas City Medical Society, we call on legislators in Kansas and Missouri to support Medicaid expansion in next year’s legislative sessions.

Why should this be a priority?

▪ Patients can be treated sooner if insured, and the end cost is lower.

▪ Our community’s economy is directly linked to our citizens’ health.

▪ It’s important that low-income people get the health care they need to keep working and taking care of their families. Uninsured patients end up getting sicker and needing more costly treatments than if they had been insured and received care sooner.

The Kansas and Missouri Medicaid programs now offer no coverage to childless adults and have very low income eligibility limits for parents — those living at 19% of the federal poverty level in Missouri and 33% in Kansas. Plus, the system leaves behind hundreds of thousands of residents who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little for a subsidized Affordable Care Act marketplace plan.

If Missouri and Kansas expand Medicaid, 400,000 people would gain access to health insurance. This would bring about $325 million per year into our region for the health care of our neediest residents.

Mark Brady

President, Kansas City

Medical Society

Kansas City

Sudden concern

The weakening of Congress, the legislative branch, is directly traceable to President Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat with a progressive approach to politics, and his New Deal.

The New Deal created federal agencies that began to issue regulations that are treated as laws. Lawmaking should be the job of Congress.

It is also directly traceable to President Lyndon Johnson and his enabling of agencies to come up with more regulations within his Great Society reforms. He was also a “progressive” Democrat.

Both Roosevelt and Johnson had the backing of a Democratic Congress.

Presidential overreach was seen clearly under President Barack Obama in rewriting immigration policy solely with executive orders, among other such maneuvers. It has kind of been continued under President Donald Trump, but to a much lesser degree. He did back off redirecting funds for the wall.

It’s amazing that by far the greatest actions that have led to this current state came from the same people — the progressive Democrats — who are lying on the ground crying because they say Trump is overreaching. How concerned they are now for the dignity of the Constitution. How compliant they were with Democratic presidents. I’m having trouble coming up with the right word for this.

Jesse Coleman

Atchison

Unanswerable

A common current runs through news stories these days. Lawmakers — state and federal — have no interest in actually governing their jurisdictions or in representing the people who elected them. They offer only trivialities, bungling or obstructionism.

It starts at the top. President Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge that he is a public servant responsible to the electorate, and instead acts as a two-bit dictator. Even within the narrow confines of tribalism, he fails to benefit his followers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that he will obstruct any initiative that originates in the House.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is worried about addictive software aimed at minors. (May 9, 4A, “Sen. Hawley finds a new target in his war with tech industry: Candy Crush”) This is fine, but why isn’t he worried about addictive software in general? And why isn’t he worried about bringing jobs back to the U.S., the flooding in the central states (including Missouri), ever-expanding military adventurism or income injustice?

And Kansas. Poor Kansas. We can’t run our prisons; we can’t fund our schools; we can’t fund health care for the needy and we can’t take care of children at risk.

Why are lawmakers collecting paychecks?

Steve Andrews

Mound City, Kansas

Back to teachers

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, WGU Missouri wanted to do something special for K-12 teachers across the state — fund as many classroom projects as possible. As a former elementary school teacher, principal and superintendent, I know firsthand how rewarding it is to provide enriching classroom experiences, and how challenging it can be to cover education-related costs year after year.

So we issued a call for teachers to submit descriptions of proposed projects and how those projects would benefit students if selected for funding. As a nonprofit university, we knew we wouldn’t be able to fund all projects, but we were hoping to make a difference for several teachers.

We’ve been amazed by the types of requests and the number of responses we received, both in the Kansas City area and statewide. Almost 230 requests were received, ranging from books and classroom materials, to technology and innovative STEM projects, to other items that will improve learning for students of all abilities and income levels.

Too often, teachers pick up the cost of these enhanced learning opportunities. This week, I’ll have the pleasure of surprising several of our amazing teachers with funding for their projects. What a great way to salute them.

Angie Besendorfer

Chancellor, WGU Missouri

Lee’s Summit

A better anthem

I seek to unite all Americans with a cause that should be meaningful to everyone, now more than ever: the updating of our national anthem.

Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” about a night of continued bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British during the War of 1812. The fact is, Americans can no longer relate to the War of 1812, nor many other major conflicts that followed. They are but snapshots in time, when Americans stepped up in support of democracy and freedoms around the world — reflections of the dark times in history when we never faltered to rise from the devastation and despair of war.

We celebrate our heroes and first responders, and yet our anthem memorializes only these dark times, rather than shinning a bright light on who we are as Americans.

By contrast, “America the Beautiful” shines that light across our unique brotherhood, from sea to shining sea. As an American who has always loved our country, I think this would be more appealing to our diverse makeup.

It’s time that we unite for a common need. We are not the right-left divide of Washington, D.C. This is not, and never should be, political.

Lillian M. Camilleri

Overland Park

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