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Brownback turns his back on 400,000 disabled Kansans

BY Finn Bullers
Freelance Writer

Under a vibrant, sunny Tuesday sky, you could almost imagine that the sun was indeed shining in Kansas — just like the never-ending GOP political TV commercials suggest.


At the podium dead center in the hub of all things affluent Johnson County, stands Gov. Sam Brownback, his poll numbers trailing Democrat challenger Paul Davis by slightly more than the margin of error.

Brownback’s dark blazer and khaki pants sends the message he’s serious, but not as serious as the dark suits flanking him, all seeking a moment in the spotlight of this absurdist political theater troupe prepping to get their GOP boss re-elected for another four years.

The message today: safety, safety, safety — lock up the bad guys in only the way elephants can, and we will all sleep easier tonight in our beige, suburban McMansions dreaming of tax-free capital gains and tax-sheltered annuities sure to fill Christmas stockings when Santa Sam comes to town. Because Sam does care whether you are rich or poor. He doesn’t love you all the same.

Why should you care? Sam Brownback is not just a Kansas story, but a U.S. Rorschach test on what we as a nation see in the political inkblot test the pundits use in an attempt to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of our elected officials. This test is often employed in diagnosing underlying thought in cases where the subject is reluctant to openly admit motivation.

Because, as goes Kansas, so goes the nation. If Brownback wins, Medicaid does not expand here, more people go without health care and states across the country run with the grand Kansas experiment to privatize Medicaid and let managed care organizations make a profit off the nation’s most vulnerable.

As a human being, it’s unconscionable.

One problem, the scurrilous horde of reporters that day kept asking pesky questions about same-sex marriage. One booming-voiced TV reporter wanted the governor’s take on the U.S. Supreme Court’s tacit approval clearing the way for legal same-sex marriages in five more states.

Experts say the high court’s refusal to hear the cases from those five states also means that six more states — Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wyoming and yes, Kansas — could soon have to lift their bans on same-sex marriage because those states are covered by the same circuit appeals courts that initially struck down the prohibitions.

In fact, Johnson County, Kan., reported Oct. 9 that 42 same-sex couples had applied for marriage licenses. That number is only expected to jump.

And it only proves what United Spinal SVP James Weisman will admonish eager advocates who are impatient to see change occur yesterday. His message: You work and work and year after year you work for disability civil rights and you get discouraged. And then, BAM — major policy shifts faster than a rocket sled on rails. History bears this out.

The number of states permitting same-sex marriage will likely jump from 19 to 30. At issue is whether gay and lesbian couples in all 50 states have the same equal protection or due process right to marry that opposite-sex couples have.

Perish the thought, the herd of elephants silently thought to themselves on that sunny Tuesday morning in front of the Johnson County gazebo.

Brownback’s response:  “We should defend how the people have spoken. We will listen to the will of the people and that is the position we will support,” he said.

“Some 69 percent of all Kansans say marriage was intended to be between a man and a women,” the governor said. “That is about as direct a statement as you can get from the people.”

Fair enough.

And again, from that same pesky group of rabble-rousing malcontents came a simple query: “Seventy-two percent of all Kansans support Medicaid expansion. What about that, governor?”

But the embattled leader of Kansas had had about enough of this here talk about the “will of the people” and all that jazz. Brownback simply ignored the question and brushed past a guy in a power wheelchair with a tube sticking out of his neck.

The Prairie Village man, too, had a Medicaid expansion query for the governor, but he was left trailing behind the dark-suited gubernatorial cavalcade of vaudevillians, hoping for a chance to pose his question, all the while clutching a blood-red sign: Don’t kill Kansans: Expand Medicaid.

Read the study: http://m.healthaffairs.org/blog/2014/01/30/opting-out-of-medicaid-expansion-the-health-and-financial-impacts

Check out the end of this video:

Reach Finn Bullers at: finn.bullers@aol.com

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