Monday, June 15, 2015

Kai Wright: "Life and Death in Brownback’s Kansas" @ The Nation

[Excerpt]   ...  From the vantage point of 2015, both Praeger’s optimism and Brownback’s reluctant acceptance appear fantastic. But this was before the Supreme Court had agreed to hear any challenges to the ACA. And while the individual-coverage mandate was still provoking intense pushback, Medicaid expansion had the air of inevitability: Rejecting expansion meant opting out of federal funding for the entire program. Brownback didn’t have a lot of alternatives.

“From where I was sitting,” says Scott Brunner, who ran the state’s Medicaid program at the time Brownback took office and is now a senior analyst at the nonpartisan Kansas Health Institute, “it seemed like the governor had to decide how much of the Affordable Care Act he could tolerate.”

* * *

Meanwhile, in the late spring of 2011, as RaDonna’s undiagnosed breathing problems intensified, she found herself facing yet another health crisis: colon cancer. She was still working a temp job with no insurance, but she escaped the surgery with almost no debt because the Oklahoma State University hospital at which she was treated absorbed most of the cost. Members of her church pooled money to help pay for the rest.

RaDonna had been struggling to maintain her independence as her health worsened. But after the colon surgery, her doctor warned her it was time to stop working. Cathy agreed. She insisted RaDonna come back to Montgomery County and live with her, and then she set about finding someone who could figure out why her sister was having breathing problems. Medicaid expansion was still on the horizon—slated to take effect in January 2014—so Cathy turned to the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC), a nonprofit network that offers primary care to the uninsured.  ...  [End of Excerpt]

Read more at The Nation.

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