If there is one topic seniors in Kansas can agree on it has to be the importance of protecting access to and viability of Medicare for us 65-plus folks. You and I paid into and now value the contract that guarantees quality health care via an established federal network. Hands down, it is the most valuable and popular federal program in the country.
Why then did Gov. Sam Brownback and the state Legislature feel compelled to promote a compact with eight other states to move Medicare to state-run status, allowing member states to set their own health care policies while using federal dollars from a block grant? The Kansas Legislature approved and the governor signed the compact proposal in April. To become law, Congress must still approve that bill, and the president must sign it.
This move was part of the governor's plan to bring more programs and their administration into state jurisdiction while claiming federal dollars to support them. Ask yourself: How well has the state done in funding its obligation to public schools or to state retirees via KPERS? Why should states take federal dollars to set up a new bureaucracy managed by the governor's own appointees when the current federal program has worked so well for so many?
Here is where you come in, dear concerned voter. Remember the popular outcry when the Affordable Care Act was still in the planning: "Keep your hands off my Medicare?" Ironically, it is the states, not the federal government, which have decided to get their hands on and experiment with our Medicare. If that plan is worrying, even infuriating, to you as it is to me, take your displeasure to the ballot box and vote all the "experimenters" out in November.
Mary B. Schwindt,