Kansas City Health Care Levy: Time for This Prescription to End
The Kansas City Star
If you don’t vote to extend Kansas City’s health care levy next week, does that mean you’re not compassionate? That’s pretty much what Councilman Ed Ford has implied. It’s also what the Kansas City Star stated in a recent editorial. How can you vote against a tax that will annually provide $15 million dollars to cover the health care of those who don’t have insurance?
Compassion aside, you might be against this tax extension because our federal government has enacted a health care program designed to provide insurance to those same people this levy is supposed to help.
Maybe this levy vote is not about compassion, but a lack of conviction. How is Obamacare ever going to succeed if our health institutions, politicians and media have no faith in it?
Proponents of the tax claim this levy is still needed because Obamacare may take time to kick in, and they point out that the Missouri legislature doesn’t appear willing to sign up for the increased Medicaid funding being offered by the feds during the transition.
If the concern was truly about how to handle the “transitional” period, would they have requested an extension of nine years! What kind of message does that send to the opponents of Obamacare? I think it says: “We don’t believe in this either. So why expand health coverage when taxpayers are happy to foot the bill with local tax levies?”
If you are one of those types who actually examine your property tax statements, then you already know that in addition to this tax levy, we also pay another general health tax of 50 cents per $100, which primarily supports Truman Medical Center. So it’s not like there’s no compassion being shown by Kansas City taxpayers.
I suppose you can’t blame our public health officials for trying to snare as much funding as they can. What institution, private or public, doesn’t do that? A large percentage of their patients don’t have insurance, and even with Obamacare there will no doubt continue to be uninsured patients. Unfortunately there are folks out there who wouldn’t bother getting insurance if you mailed them the check! But if that is a problem it’s something that the federal health care program needs to correct, not Kansas City property owners.
The real issue is this: By extending these “safety net” funds we undermine health care reform and do harm to those who stand to gain by its implementation. What about the folks who’ve lost a job and run out of COBRA, or work for a small employer that does not provide insurance, or can’t get insurance due to pre-existing conditions?
If it is any comfort I suppose you can always go to Truman, forced to let somebody else foot the bill. In the end that doesn’t seem compassionate, but kind of selfish.