In a Letter to the Editor on May 22 titled “GOP lawmakers thwart public on Medicaid,” it was stated that area Republican legislators “do not place their constituents’ views above their own.” This conclusion was drawn after a 90-minute meeting with the local hospital management in Arkansas City.
The editorial drew an incorrect picture of the meeting and mischaracterized my comments. I believe it’s important to correct the record. Those who have followed my voting record, know that I have serious concern about moving forward with Medicaid expansion. My final vote, as referenced in the May 22 editorial, was consistent with the position that I have held since voters sent me to Topeka.
My main questions continue to be: 1. What will expansion cost taxpayers? 2. How many people are going to be enrolled? 3. Who is going to provide the administration for these new enrollees? These questions continue to be debated with no clear answers. My final vote on the procedural motion should have come as a surprise to no one.
I believe that it’s important that the most vulnerable Kansans have the care they need. Medicaid expansion could force their care to be compromised by a system overburdened with able-bodied adults, as has happened in other states. Expansion could also force taxes to skyrocket even higher or cause the legislature to slash the budgets of other vital state programs and services to fully fund it.
With that said, I do believe it’s important that we support our rural hospitals like South Central Medical Center in Arkansas City. That is why I worked with the previous hospital management to find innovative solutions that would serve patients, bring in revenue, without an added burden to taxpayers.
The Direct Primary Care Clinic associated with SCKMC was a result of many hours of research and visits to other clinics throughout Kansas. This model would have provided primary care for the community at an affordable cost. Unfortunately, management changed, and the decision was made to abandon the program.
I remain willing to work with anyone who is committed to finding workable solutions on this issue or any other. I take each vote seriously and will continue to do so. I’m honored to represent the 72,000 hardworking Kansans in the 32nd District.
Rest assured that myself and the other local legislators are willing to listen to your concerns and give you honest answers. While we may not always agree, please know that our doors are always open.
I can be reached by email at Larry.Alley@senate.ks.gov.
Senator Larry Alley
32nd District of Kansas