“We‘re here because of the Medicaid gap (that exists), because Kansas chose not to take part in the ADA,” said Lindsey Banage, Medicaid Expansion KS Coordinator.
The event included speakers and a candle light vigil, along with 330 minutes of silence for all those statistically expected to die without adequate health care due Brownback’s actions.
“We have no federal assistance or tax credits,” Banage said. “Our tax money has gone to other states. Kansas has paid for it. But we are not getting the benefits from it.”
She is referring to a federal block grant that Brownback sent back to Washington because he wanted to prove he did not support the ADA. He gave back $31.5 million received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would have gone to set up exchanges. Altogether he sent back almost $90 million.
Brownback also refused to expand Medicaid as the ADA suggests that state do to fill in the gap between those who can afford health insurance and those who qualify for Social and Rehabilitative Services (Welfare). Several speakers pointed out that there is a gap where people who work can’t afford health insurance because of their low wages and many companies don’t offer health care.
“Healthcare is not just a privilege it is a right,” Banage said as the rally continued into the evening.
She announced that 14 other states are having death watch vigils, because their governors also refused to expand their Medicaid programs. She added there are 23 states where there is no Medicaid expansion.
Also speaking were some ministers, medical personnel, politicians and working class victims who have had to go without medical needs met or who have a loved one or friend who has died as a result of not being able to afford healthcare. Politicians present included Kansas Representative Gail Finney, KS Rep. Oletha Faust-Goudeau and KS Rep. Jim Ward.
“This is no fault of the ADA,” Banage said of those who have been ill or died from lack of health care. She added that emergency rooms will continue to be the main place poor people will go for medical care when they are too sick to ignore their symptoms.
A candle light vigil, along with 330 minutes of silence for all those statistically expected to die without adequate health care, was held last Saturday night.