Topeka hospital – The turmoil surrounding St. Francis Health Center over the past few months should be a reminder to lawmakers and the governor that their actions have a profound effect on communities all around the state. Although there are various reasons why SCL Health may close St. Francis, it’s impossible to deny that the failure to expand Medicaid is one of them.
There’s no indication that St. Francis’ pending demise has prompted a change of heart on Medicaid expansion in the Governor’s Office. But as close as the Legislature was to a veto-proof vote a few weeks ago, the Topeka hospital’s troubles are a compelling reason for legislators to take the matter up again. They owe it to the hospitals in their districts to try.
With St. Francis so close by, many lawmakers now are getting a clear view of what a hospital closure does to a community. In 2015, Mercy Hospital in Independence closed, but that was in far southeast Kansas. Now hospitals in Fort Scott and Wellington are also said to be in dire financial straits. All this may finally be changing minds in Topeka. And it should. Medicaid expansion would be a huge step forward.
Tax experiment – Gov. Sam Brownback’s policy experiment cutting taxes as a job stimulant has put the state into a fiscal tailspin that will cost Kansans for decades to come. Despite that demonstrable evidence to the contrary, the far right continues to believe the fantasy that cutting taxes is always the magical carpet ride to fiscal Nirvana.