Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson and House Speaker Dan Hawkins indicate Governor Laura Kelly’s latest effort to secure Medicaid expansion is “dead on arrival” when introduced next year in the legislature.
At a roundtable discussion on child care in Emporia, the governor paired Medicaid expansion with alleviating the shortage of child care workers in the state:
“Parents rely on affordable, quality child care to participate in the workforce and contribute to our economy. Yet right now, far too many of our child care centers are struggling to find the workers they need to keep their doors open, as workers leave the industry or even the state because they don’t have health insurance. We must expand Medicaid to extend health insurance to more working Kansans, so child care providers can recruit and retain workers and create more options for Kansas families.”
Senator Masterson criticized the proposal as an effort to “expand the welfare state”:
“Cloaked in a fake work requirement and a tax scheme, the governor’s proposal to expand the welfare state creates more problems than it solves. It is poor public policy to push able-bodied adults off of private insurance and onto a government program that was intended for the truly vulnerable. While we all agree that
health care is too expensive, its cost is largely driven by government – and so adding more government is not a solution.
“Instead of more government, Kansans need and deserve more personal choice and control. They need more options, with more competition and price transparency, and less hassle through reforms that help people obtain quality private health coverage, providing superior health outcomes and more timely access to care.”
Speaker Hawkins derided the governor’s offer of a work requirement to secure the benefit:
“While I appreciate the governor’s newly-found support for work requirements for welfare benefits, this is nothing more than smoke and mirrors because Governor Kelly most surely knows that the Biden Administration has not approved any Medicaid work requirement and proactively revoked every single work requirement approved previously.
“As she continues to make false promises, House Republicans will be working on legitimate way to improve healthcare access, lower costs, and address the IDD (Intellectual/Developmental Disability) waiver waitlist.
The simplest way to make childcare more accessible is to relax licensure requirements. Kansas law requires licensure for anyone who:
- cares for one unrelated child more than 20 hours per week
- cares for two unrelated children more than 20 combined hours per week
- cares for more than two unrelated children
In addition to licensure, there are also many state regulations imposed on childcare operators.
Proposing Medicaid expansion to alleviate a childcare shortage is a classic government scheme. First, government creates or contributes to a problem (childcare shortage); then, it proposes another costly government program as a solution.
David Hicks – The Sentinel
David Hicks grew up in southern Missouri and graduated from Mizzou with a degree in political science. He has worked as a congressional staffer, broadcaster, government bureaucrat, columnist, campaign worker, and small business owner. He and his wife live in Bonner Springs.