The Affordable Care Act provides millions of Americans affordable health insurance. However, if you live in Kansas your choices are between three providers and none of them appear to be located in Kansas. The plans are either HMO or POS plans which do not allow patients to select their specialists. They must have a referral from a primary care physician.

The person responsible for this situation is Governor Sam Brownback. With the hard work of Insurance Commissioner, Sandy Praeger, Kansas was awarded a $31 million dollar grant to create a quality exchange. Because Brownback didn’t think the Supreme Court would uphold its constitutionality and he expected President Obama to lose the election, he sent the money back. This left Kansans at the mercy of the federal exchange and leaving us with substandard plans. Sandy Praeger, a Republican, is not running again and you must conclude it has to do with the actions of the governor. Kansas has zero “Best Value” plans but states which created their own exchange, such as Massachusetts, has 14 providers, 6 PPOs, and 4 “Best Values”.

The responsible person for such limited and poor quality options goes to Governor Sam Brownback. HMOs have a very poor history of quality health care and if you need a specialist you must have a referral from your primary care physician. If they won’t make a referral the cost of care from a specialist is at your expense. The refusal to accept the $31 million and the Medicaid expansion, which was no cost to Kansans, has devastated many and the blame belongs to Governor Brownback. According to former Governor Sebelius, “by not adopting Medicaid expansion you’re leaving not only a lot of federal dollars but a lot of people on the side of the road”.

— Louise Smith, Hesston and Shelley Dunham, Council Grove