A Weekly Rundown of Important Activity in Topeka, from a Principled Perspective
Week Ten -- March 25, 2019
The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.
-- Thomas Sowell

The Facts of the Matter is a feature in The Truth Report each week, highlighting important information, some of which is not always reported or emphasized in the mainstream press:
  • Medicaid Expansion Hurts Everyone. Today, fewer and fewer doctors will even accept new Medicaid patients because of the low reimbursement rates. Medicaid patients in the future may not even be able to find a doctor. In Ohio, only around 40 percent of doctors have been taking new Medicaid patients, a number that is likely to fall in light of the “bump out” Medicaid payment ending. This has led to doctors lobbying the state government to cover the payment itself. (Source)

  • States scramble to head off future Medicaid shortfalls. The federal government will still cover the bulk of the costs of care for the roughly 13 million Americans newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which allowed states to expand the program to people earning somewhat above the federal poverty level. The gradually decreasing federal contribution — originally set at 100 percent but reduced to 90 percent starting next year — has left some states with budget holes to fill. (Source)

  • Stores across Kansas prep for liquor law change starting April 1. Full-strength beer will be available at grocery and convenience stores starting April 1. However, there's still a cap with those stores only able to sell beer up to six percent, which doesn't include a lot of the craft beers. (Source).

News & Views is a weekly collection of relevant news items and editorials regarding what's going on in Topeka and around the State of Kansas.
Ty Masterson: Argument against Medicaid expansion
( Source )

Kansans are being sold a bad prescription by Medicaid expansion advocates. Just as Americans were sold a poisoned pill in the lead-up to passage of Obamacare, the program that now allows states to provide Medicaid to able-bodied adults. Back then, President Obama, pushing his ill-conceived health care plan, told the American people that under the Affordable Care Act, people could keep their health care plans. "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period," the president said. We all know how that turned out
Read the rest of the column by clicking here .

Truth Report Archive
Check out past Truth Reports in the Truth Report Archive by clicking here.
Transparency Center: Follow the Kansas Legislature
You can view video streaming of both chambers via the Kansas Legislature YouTube page. In addition, many committees are now audio streamed. Finally, the Kansas Legislature website remains a great resource. Here are the relevant links:

YouTube Streaming:

Spending: Ever curious about how your tax dollars are spent, particularly on items like government salaries? Then look no further than KS OpenGov, a large database of hundreds of reports at the state, city, and school district level. 

Get there by clicking here:
Kansas House Adopts Expansion of ObamaCare- Earns Congratulations by Bernie Sanders
This week, the Kansas House adopted the platform of Bernie Sanders when it approved an expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare by a vote of 69-54. Immediately after the vote in a Tweet, Bernie Sanders congratulated the Kansas House on its action. (See right)
The goal of Bernie Sanders and other socialist Democrats is to impose socialized medicine on the entire country, and as Sanders himself admits in that Tweet, expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare is a “major step” towards that goal.

Undeterred by even the rules of the House, Democrats used an extraordinary maneuver they had previously criticized – they offered a non-germane gut-and-go amendment on the House floor to a bill regarding Advance Practice Registered Nurses. After the Rules Chair ruled it was not germane to the bill, that ruling was challenged. At that moment, six Republican committee chairs left the chamber and were absent for the critical procedural vote. Due to a coalition of Democrats and left-wing Republicans, the challenge won the day, and so the amendment was added.

Common Sense Amendments Fail
After a recess, legislators returned to debate several amendments. The coalition of left-wing legislators defeated three common-sense amendments:

  • An amendment by Rep. Owens would have required benefits only go to legal residents by using the E-Verify system.
  • An amendment by Rep. Landwehr would have prevented funds going to groups such as Planned Parenthood.
  • An amendment by Rep. Williams would have simply set up a public reporting and monitoring system to measure health outcomes and economic benefits that proponents had touted.

Medicaid Expansion Hurts More than It Helps
It is important to remember that Medicaid expansion does NOT apply to or help current Medicaid populations. Medicaid expansion ONLY covers ABLE-BODIED adults age 19-64. This new population are predominately childless adults and over half of them do not work at all. The reality is ObamaCare puts those who are most needy at the back of the line .

The cost of expanding the Medicaid program to able-bodied adults is unsustainable for the Kansas taxpayer. Over ten years, it is estimated to cost Kansas taxpayers over $1.2 billion to expand Medicaid. That is $1.2 billion that would be diverted from not only Medicaid funding for the disabled and the elderly, but also from education, infrastructure, and public safety funding.

Of the 150,000 to 180,000 people estimated to be eligible under expansion, between 50,000 and 80,000 are already covered on private or group insurance . Those individuals will be forced off of their current coverage and forced onto government-run Medicaid , this is also known as the “crowd out affect.”  

Simply put, expanding ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion increases dependency, hurts those Medicaid was intended to help, is fiscally irresponsible, and is part of an overall plan to implement socialized medicine for all.
The Realities of Medicaid Expansion:
Video Series from Majority Leader Hawkins
Health care can be a complicated issue, particularly as it pertains to government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. So, as state legislatures across the country have wrestled with whether to expand Medicaid or not, sometimes the realities of Medicaid Expansion can get lost in the debate.

Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, in a video series, discusses many of these realities in a way that is easy to understand. Below are links to those videos:

Currently Covered:
The Costs of Expansion:
Unintended Consequences:
Rural Health Care:
Alternatives to Expansion:
Spend Trend: Senate Passes Budget Exceeding Governor’s Recommendations
On a narrow vote of 21-18, the Senate passed their MEGA budget bill. In FY 2019, SB 75 increases spending above the Governor’s recommendation by $3.9 million. In FY 2020, SB 75 increases spending above the Governor’s recommendation by $129.9 million. The total State General Fund spending surpasses $7.5 billion in FY 2020. 
Oops: Jack Nomination for Appeals Court Collapses After Inflammatory Tweets Revealed
More than two months ago, a position on the Kansas Court of Appeals became vacant. Under reforms enacted by conservatives in 2013, the Kansas Court of Appeals uses the “federal model,” which means the governor could choose anyone she likes to be her nominee, and then that person would be subject to Senate confirmation. Under the law, the governor is required to send her nomination to the Senate within 60 days – otherwise the appointment power goes to the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Governor Kelly was apparently in no hurry, as she waited until Day 60 to submit the name of Jeffry Jack. One reason for the delay was that the governor opted to create her own “nominating commission” to vet 17 candidates for the position – three of which were forwarded to the governor. This commission was designed to be a replica of the system previously used and is still in place for the Kansas Supreme Court. Out of the three names sent to Governor Kelly, she chose Jeffry Jack, a District Court Judge who was also a former State Representative.

Despite the fact one would expect even the most elementary vetting process to review social media posts, it was soon discovered that Judge Jack had quite the history of inflammatory tweets that were highly partisan in nature, such as hostility directed towards President Trump, and directly criticized 2 nd Amendment rights.

Upon revelation of Jack’s checkered social media history, the Kansas Truth Caucus issued a statement opposing his confirmation entitled, “Truth Caucus: Jeffry Jack Not Fit for Court of Appeals.” Included in our release was a statement from Rep. Jene Vickrey, who said:

“The fact that Mr. Jack even made it through even a basic vetting process is astonishing. This is why the Senate confirmation process is so essential – if Mr. Jack were a Kansas Supreme Court nominee, he’d already be on the bench. Many of us have been championing judicial selection reform for years - this is Exhibit A of why this reform is so necessary.”

In light of the governor’s delay and the withdrawal of the Jack nomination, there is now an open question as to who gets to send in a new nominee – Governor Laura Kelly or Chief Justice Lawton Nuss? That matter will be decided in the coming weeks.

Truth Caucus Calls for Constitutional Amendment for Supreme Court Nominees; Says Jack Debacle Demonstrates Failure of So-Called Merit System
In the meantime, the Kansas Truth Caucus is proposing meaningful reform to ensure nominees like Jack do not make it onto the court.

Jack’s nomination and eventual withdrawal demonstrated a failure of the so-called “merit system” that the governor used to make her selection. The Kansas Truth Caucus, which includes judicial selection reform as part of our Statement of Principled Priorities , immediately noted this failure and called for such reform for the Kansas Supreme Court. The fact our highest court is chosen via the old system of no checks and balances and controlled by only lawyers, is quite troubling, particularly given it has no Senate confirmation component.

You can read our statement by clicking here . Below is an excerpt:

A Constitutional Amendment was introduced this morning in the Senate Federal & State Affairs Committee by Senator Ty Masterson, who is Chair of the Kansas Truth Caucus. The proposal is based on the “federal model” for judicial selection and mirrors the system for the Kansas Court of Appeals, which permits governors to select a nominee of their choice, but who is subject to Senate confirmation. 
The Kansas Truth Caucus believes the “check and balance” of Senate confirmation for the Kansas Court of Appeals clearly worked in the case of Jack, who would be on the court if not for reform the legislature enacted in 2013, and believes the reform needs to be implemented for the Kansas Supreme Court, as well.  

Principled Focus: Championing the People of Kansas
Each week, the Truth Report will highlight one of our Principled Priorities, which were recently adopted by our membership.

The Kansas Truth Caucus Principled Priorities state:

Championing the People of Kansas
The Kansas Bill of Rights states: “All political power is inherent in the people…” (Kansas Bill of Rights, § 2.) We understand that the ultimate power in government rests with the people via their elected representatives. Therefore, we strongly support checks and balances, the separation of powers and following the Kansas Constitution with the priority of protecting the people’s liberty. We advocate for reforms to our judicial selection process so that judges are more accountable to the people of Kansas.

This session, efforts to uphold this principle include fighting for a Constitutional Amendment to reform the judicial selection process so the people have more of a voice in who sits on the Kansas Supreme Court, and in specifically highlighting the importance of Senate confirmation as part of that process.