Missourians and Kansans this year are confronting myriad social concerns — among them is the declining status of residents’ health.
According to the United Health Foundation, Kansas had ranked 12th among states in 1990 in health. But now waddles in at 27th, The Kansas City Star reports.
Missouri used to be 24th in 1990 but now is an awful 36th. Cancer death rates in other states have been falling; in Missouri and Kansas, they are inching up. Heart disease rates also are up in the Show-Me State. Kansas has one of the highest occupational death rates and lowest immunization rates for children and adolescents.
In addition, neither Kansas nor Missouri has expanded their Medicaid program to provide health insurance for more low-income people while other states have.
No one wants to be sick, but in Jefferson City, Topeka and Washington, D.C., where Republicans lawmakers make up the majority, there appears to be a diminishing political will to improve the health and well-being for the overall population. People who are part of the wealthiest 1 percent in the United States get the thumbs up with tax cuts remaining in place, the Affordable Care Act suffering more serious political attacks and the Keystone XL pipeline headed toward approval in the U.S. House and Senate.
What use is there now for building an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf that threatens the enviroment at a time when there is an oversupply of oil worldwide, keeping gas prices extremely low? None of it makes any sense.
Excluding Kansas, where the governor is Republican, the best Midwesterners can hope for is a veto pen in Washington and Jefferson City filled with political courage, intimidating muscle and a lot of black ink.