I offer a counter perspective to those who speak and write against expanding Medicaid for low-income Kansans. My comments are based on the premise that government functions for the common good, and that taxes administered fairly, are to be considered essential, and not somehow evil or undesirable. Further, the government has the ability, indeed the responsibility, to create the fairest possible tax policy so that those who are able provide the financial resources that sustain the services needed by those without those resources.

In my view, two aspects of a fair and equitable tax policy include the elimination of sales tax on food (the highest penalty on low income earners), and the expansion of access to health care for the poor through the Medicaid program. It is not only inhumane, but immoral, to deny 150,000 Kansans such access with the excuse that it will cost too much. Those of us who are able will have to dig a little deeper to provide the funding through the income tax, which most affects those who are able to pay, as it should.

I find it somehow ironic, if not actually regrettable, that those legislators (or governors) with the authority to benefit the poor with access to health care, but refuse to do so, are ones who themselves are well covered by insurance and do not have to live in daily fear of personal or family disaster because of an illness or accident.

Novelist and poet Herman Melville may have said it best, back in the 1800s: “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed,” and I would add “well-insured.”

— Bill Zuercher, Hesston