Each day during legislative session, Rep. Eber Phelps presents his update here on Hays Post and also on 14 KAYS AM after the noon news, brought to you by the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce.
Rep. Eber Phelps Day 68, 2012 (March 21, 2012)
The House 2013 budget puts no new money per child into Kansas public schools.
Not providing some kind of cost of living increase for schools puts pressure on
local school boards to raise property taxes to cover the cost of inflation and
Public schools have endured more than their fair share of budget cuts over the
last few years.
Last year alone, Gov. Brownback asked for a $104 million cut to public schools
- the largest cut to public schools – the largest cut to public education in
In total, public education has been cut nearly $270 million since fiscal year
House Republican 2013 fiscal year budget
Here are some funding areas that were recommended for cuts in the House 2013
· Community Health Centers were cut $1.8 million for screenings for
non-Medicaid patients. Right now, even if you are not Medicaid eligible, you
can go to a local community mental health center and talk to someone for an
initial screening. Now those people will be turned away.
· Family Centered Systems of Care was eliminated. This provides mental
health services for families with children with serious emotional disturbances.
· Family Preservation Reduction was cut by $654,000. This program helps
families stay together and cuts about 600 families from the program.
· Children’s Initiatives Funds were cut about $15 million. This
includes a number of early childhood education programs.
· $157,000 was cut from Addiction and Prevention Services grants,
cutting services to about 100 Kansans.
· Cut foster care contract rates by $2.3 million and foster care
reimbursement rates by $3.4 million.
· Cut child support enforcement contracts by $1.4 million.
· Cut funding by $2.1 million for children over the age of 13 in SRS
custody. This will mean more kids over the age of 13 who were in foster care
due to out-of-control behavior, truancy, overwhelmed parents, etc., will not be
covered. They will have to stay at home.
· Cut support for Centers for Independent Living by 18%. This supports
Kansans with developmental disabilities.
· Reduce foster parent training by 13 percent or $111,000.
· State employees get no raises and their longevity pay (for employees
with 10 years or more service) is reduced.
Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger believes there are too many good things in the Affordable Care Act to be overturned by the court system or Congress after the presidential election.
“I think it will be very hard to overturn the law,” she said. “When you really pin people down, there are lots of aspects of this law that people like.”
• Elimination of annual and lifetime limits on insurance coverage. She said often those who need insurance coverage the most can’t get it, and that’s why so many Americans end up in bankruptcy. She said medical care is the No. 1 reason for U.S. bankruptcy.
• Elimination of pre-existing medical conditions. People will no longer be denied insurance coverage because of illness or previous health conditions. “Today, you most likely wouldn’t get coverage if you’ve had cancer. You would be denied,” she said.
• No co-pays or deductibles on preventive services, such as annual wellness exams. “Early detection of a disease or problem can be cost-effective, and the outcomes are often better. It’s a win-win,” she said.
• Allowing children to stay on their health insurance plan until age 26. She said about 2.5 million children are now insured nationally because of this provision, which already has been implemented.
“The bottom line is we need to get to a point where everyone can get the health care they need,” Praeger said. Not only is it a moral thing, she said, but costs will continue to escalate for those who pay for insurance if something isn’t done.
She said insurance companies estimate that 25 to 30 percent of the premiums they charge are to help cover uncompensated care.
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