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Medicare in jeopardy with Brownback as governor

In a news conference with Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, Medicare expert Larry Weigel, and Kansas seniors, Jill Docking, Wichita businesswoman and candidate for lieutenant governor, criticized Gov. Brownback’s support for the so-called “Interstate Health Care Compact”, a bill that will hand Medicare and other federal health care programs over to state lawmakers.

20141029_103426_Android“This law will put Medicare benefits of Kansas seniors at risk,” said Docking. “Kansans deserve better than a governor who will experiment with the lives of our parents and grandparents. Paul and I promise today that if elected, we will fight to protect Medicare and ensure Kansas seniors receive the benefits they have come to depend on.”

In April of this year, ignoring the warnings of multiple health care experts, the Republican Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, the AARP and the pleas of seniors across the state, Gov. Brownback sign the Interstate Health Care Compact. It will give state lawmakers control of all federal health programs, including Medicare. Kansas has more than 448,000 enrollees in the Medicare program. Kansas Medicare costs are about $4.9 billion per year.

“Supporters of the bill may tell you it does not affect Medicare, but that is just false,” said Praeger. “It could jeopardize the coverage and benefits that seniors have come to count on. It would be a serious mistake to turn Medicare over to state control.”

Docking pointed to the disastrous implementation of KanCare as evidence of the danger of putting the state in charge of Medicare. She also raised questions about whether giving state lawmakers control of Medicare and the associated funding was wise. She pointed out that they have a poor track record keeping promises, like raiding money promised for highways or the Children’s Initiative Fund.20141029_103434_Android

“What happens if our state is hit with another recession? What happens when legislators are forced to make tough cuts? And what happens if Medicare is on the chopping block?” asked Docking. “I encourage Kansas seniors to tell Sam Brownback to stay away from your Medicare.”

“The law Gov. Brownback supported will give state legislators control of Medicare spending, as well as the ability to cut that spending in the future,” said Praeger. “And given their track record – this should be cause for alarm. On November 4, we can put an end to the Brownback experiment permanently and protect Medicare.”