The Republicans newly in charge of the U.S. House may try to repeal the health reform law as early as next week, acting quickly on an issue that fueled their election success.
The fact that the repeal’s prospects are poor beyond the House floor doesn’t deter freshmen such as Rep. Mike Pompeo, RWichita, who told KAKE, Channel 10, Wednesday: “We have an obligation to do what we think is right, and we think repealing that health care bill is the right answer.”
That’s one way to interpret the historic GOP showing in November, including the sweep of statewide offices and congressional districts in Kansas.
But what Pompeo and his fellow Republicans must remember as they begin their assault on “Obamacare” is that the formally named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was not a solution in search of a problem. Repealing or defunding it still will leave 30 million Americans without health insurance, including at least 335,000 in Kansas and 63,000 in Sedgwick County.
That uninsured reality was reflected in Thursday’s Eagle article on the startling growth in the numbers of people seeking medical services at Wichita’s safety-net clinics.
Individuals who’d lost their jobs and coverage in the aircraft layoffs counted among some of GraceMed’s 4,000 additional patient visits last year, for a total 42,000. Other clinics, including the Center for Health and Wellness and the E.C. Tyree Health and Dental Clinic, also saw more patients in 2010. Meanwhile, Planeview’s Health Options clinics closed last August, for lack of funding rather than demand.
The local charity clinics’ job was further complicated last year by a backlog of as many as 32,000 applications for HealthWave, the state’s insurance program for children and pregnant women in poor and lowincome families. The processing backlog — caused by the combination of funding and staffing cuts, greater demand and a 2006 federal mandate to require proof of citizenship for such coverage — has created cash-flow problems for some charity clinics, as it has slowed many patients’ approval for and access to care.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.kansas.com.