Daily Archives: April 2, 2017

Sunday feature: Medicaid Expansion, Larry Alley, Kyle Hoffman and the fate of SRMC

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — This week the future existence of Sumner Regional Medical Center in Wellington could hang in the balance. The Kansas House of Representatives will gather on the house floor to vote, possibly as early as Monday, whether or not to override Governor Sam Brownback’s veto of a bill that expands coverage of KanCare.

The vote has significant local interest in that the hospital in Wellington could generate $750,000 a year annually with Medicaid expansion.

“That’s a significant chunk of change,” said Terry Deschaine, SRMC board member. “That will allow the hospital to be properly reimbursed for much of the care we provide to patients, who can’t afford it. “

But there’s are linchpins to this scenario. Both 32nd District Representative Kyle Hoffman and State Senator Larry Alley voted against the bill that would eventually pass through both chambers of the Kansas Legislature. Now in order to save the bill, it must require a 2/3’s majority to override the veto. Currently, the house is three votes shy in the House and two votes shy in the Senate.

In other words, five legislators minds need to be swayed before the veto vote takes place. Health care advocates are hoping they can sway lawmakers over this weekend. Local health officials and civic leaders took it a step further.

Friday afternoon, a collection of 17 civic leaders from Sumner and Cowley County congregated in the office of physician Faustino Naldoza, who has since retired, to have what amounted to be a “come-to-Jesus” talk with Alley over the dire financial straits of the hospital and the desire to get this bill passed. The collective message was: without this bill’s passage, this hospital could very well close.

Guest editorial: KanCare expansion will help the state budget

The following is a guest editorial written by Dave Kerr, a former state senate President and Sheldon Weisgrau, Director of Health Reform Resource Project.

It’s not often that a legislative body has an opportunity to make good policy, provide needed services to tens of thousands of state residents, and positively impact the state budget.  But that is exactly the opportunity the Kansas Legislature now has before it.

Governor Brownback recently vetoed a bill to expand KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program.  By overriding this veto, the Legislature can make health coverage available to more than 150,000 low-income Kansans and bring more than $70 million to the state budget, helping to fill a budget deficit that has plagued the state for the past several years.

In his veto message, the governor pointed out the cost of expanding KanCare.  Services to newly covered beneficiaries will total about $81 million in state fiscal year (FY) 2019, the first full year of the expansion. 

Letter to the editor: What people across the Pond think of Trump

Editor’s note — The following is a letter to the editor written by Helen Murray, the daughter of Sumner Newscow columnist Robert Escandon.

To the editor: Here is a perspective from across the pond.

My father, Robert Escandon, recently wrote a column expressing his views on both Clinton and Trump and discussed the possibility that Trump was displaying the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Having carefully read through the replies and comments to the post it appears he has garnered some strong opinions, especially from the Pro-Trump faction who have accused him of a rather left wing bias.

One local commenter on the post asked the question “I wonder what outsiders thought of our two presidential candidates?”

As an “outsider” I thought I would answer this, if I may?

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