THE TRUTH REPORT
A Weekly Rundown of Important Activity in Topeka, from a Principled Perspective
Week One - January 27, 2020
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
― Dale Carnegie
FACTS OF THE MATTER
The Facts of the Matter is a feature in The Truth Report each week, highlighting important information, some of which is not always reported or emphasized in the mainstream press:
  • Most Potential ObamaCare (Medicaid) Expansion Enrollees in Non-Expansion State Already Have Private CoverageA recent analysis concluded that nearly 54 percent of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees were already insured, and in some states, such as Wisconsin, that number was as high as 71 percent. These figures represent millions of Americans that could potentially move over from their current plans and onto taxpayer-funded Medicaid. (Foundation for Government Accountability)

  • Kansas Voters Oppose Medicaid Expansion. Kansas voters oppose Medicaid expansion to able-bodied adults under ObamaCare. Automated telephone interviews were conducted with 515 likely Kansas voters in February 2018. When they were informed of the facts, 52% of Kansans opposed the expansion of Medicaid. (Source)

  • Kansas ranks fifth for people leaving the state. People are moving out Kansas quicker than they are moving in, according to a survey by moving company United Van Lines. (Source)

NEWS & VIEWS
News & Views is a weekly collection of relevant news items and editorials regarding what's going on in Topeka and around the State of Kansas.
FAQs on Medicaid Expansion with Beverly Gossage
The Sentinel

Beverly Gossage is a consumer-based health care expert and is a senior fellow with Independent Women’s Voice. She is also past president of the Kansas Association of Health Underwriters. In addition to training and writing health savings account (HSA) policies for individuals and the self-employed, she helped pioneer them for businesses in Kansas and Missouri. She has testified on health policy bills in both houses of the Kansas and Missouri Legislatures.

In response to the Kansas Medicaid Agreement announced last week, Gossage answers some frequently asked questions related to the expansion and what it could mean for consumers.
Truth Report Archive
Check out past Truth Reports in the Truth Report Archive by clicking here.
Transparency Center: Follow the Kansas Legislature
You can view video streaming of both chambers via the Kansas Legislature YouTube page. In addition, many committees are now audio streamed. Finally, the Kansas Legislature website remains a great resource. Here are the relevant links:


YouTube Streaming: http://bit.ly/2CZj9O0


Spending: Ever curious about how your tax dollars are spent, particularly on items like government salaries? Then look no further than KS OpenGov, a large database of hundreds of reports at the state, city, and school district level. 

Get there by clicking here:  http://www.kansasopengov.org/kog/databank
ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion Hearings Begin
This week, the Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee began its extensive hearings on SB 252, the bill which capitulates to the governor and her Democratic allies regarding a massive expansion of ObamaCare in Kansas. Thursday and Friday were for proponents; this Tuesday is for neutral testimony; opponents will be heard Wednesday and Thursday.
With testimony ongoing, let’s examine the truth regarding Medicaid Expansion:
Telling the Truth on Medicaid Expansion: Yes, Work Requirements Are Operable
Leading proponents of Medicaid Expansion are perpetuating the myth that “there is not a single state that has a functioning work requirement for Medicaid eligibility.” 

This is false.

There are operable work requirements live or coming live in Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, and Michigan. In fact, Michigan’s program is live right now on their own websiteOhio’s will start in 2021. South Carolina’s was just approved last month.

The states where work requirements were overruled were all decided by one judge in Washington, D.C, who was appointed by President Obama. These will be appealed and eventually the Supreme Court will decide. Furthermore, the lawsuits are against the Obama Administration, so should Kansas adopt work requirements the financial burden of the lawsuit would fall on the federal government – not Kansas.

Work requirements for able-bodied adults to receive a taxpayer-funded welfare benefit is a commonsense policy proposal that most Kansans agree with. Proponents of the bill should not spread false and misleading information to block this important policy that helps beneficiaries get back in the work force.
Telling the Truth on Medicaid Expansion: No, It is NOT Inevitable
Leading proponents of Medicaid Expansion are also perpetuating the myth that the reason they have decided to help Governor Kelly in implementing her number one priority, is that passage of ObamaCare is inevitable in Kansas.

This is defeatism and is simply not the case.

For the better part of a decade, those who favor free market health care solutions and oppose a massive expansion of ObamaCare in Kansas have successfully resisted such efforts.
In fact, as a result of the 2018 election, there are far more opponents to Medicaid Expansion in the House than there were the preceding two years. That is because Kansans do not support ObamaCare expansion and no amount of misinformation by the proponents of SB 252 will change that fact.

In 2019, Senators opposed to ObamaCare were able to keep the governor’s plan from being adopted. Therefore, the contention that passage is inevitable is demonstrably false.
Make no mistake, this is an important fight for the future of Kansas. Implementing this massive expansion of the welfare state commits the taxpayers of Kansas to fund the ever-growing cost of the program over the long haul, which could lead to tax increases and budget deficits, as has been the case in other states.

As such, the answer in tough times is not to cave or give up. The notion that “we must pass this or else” may be a common legislative tactic, but it is not the way to good government.
This is an important fight, and one that can be won if facts are presented about the realities of what Medicaid Expansion is and what the experience has been in other states.  
Medicaid Expansion Resource Center
The Kansas Truth Caucus has created a one-stop-shop for information regarding the effort to stop ObamaCare/Medicaid Expansion in Kansas. It contains articles and studies regarding the issue that can help correct misleading information:


We will continue to add content as the debate proceeds.
 
Value Them Both: Pro Life Rally Held in Topeka
As efforts continue to pass the Value Them Both Constitutional Amendment, a rally was held in Topeka promoting the right to life. The rally has taken place every year since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was made 47 years ago and brings together pro-life Kansans from across the state to rally Kansans to protect women and babies in Kansas. 

President Trump, who became the first President to appear at the March for Life in Washington, declared January 22 nd 'National Sanctity of Human Life Day.'

The Kansas Truth Caucus stands proudly in support of the right to life.
 
Value Them Both: Constitutional Amendment Passes Committee
Last week, a press conference was held announcing the introduction of a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Hodes & Nauser vs. Schmidt decision regarding abortion from
May that opened the floodgates to limitless abortion in Kansas. The conference was led by a large coalition of women leaders and legislators dedicated to giving Kansans a say in whether they have a right to regulate the abortion industry in Kansas – regulations that protect both mothers and babies.

This week, a joint committee of the House Federal & State Affairs Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the amendment, and pro-lifers packed the committee room. The Constitutional Amendment passed out of committee and will soon be debated in both the House and the Senate. 

More about the “Value Them Both” effort to pass a Constitutional Amendment can be found here:  www.kansasamendment.com . Here are some basic facts about the Value Them Both Amendment:
  • The Value Them Both Constitutional Amendment was introduced by a coalition of several pro-life organizations including the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, the Kansas Catholic Conference, Concerned Women for America of Kansas and Kansans for Life.
  • Value Them Both language will clarify that no right to an abortion exists in our State Constitution, and to restore to the people of Kansas, through their elected officials, the ability to halt what could soon be an unlimited abortion industry.   
  • Value Them Both lets the people regulate abortion through their elected officials.
  • Because of a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling, existing regulations like late-term abortion, no taxpayer funded abortions, parental notification requirements, and clinic safety standards will likely be struck down.  
  • Unlimited and unregulated abortions often result in hurting women in addition to the tragic death of the baby.   
  • Value Them Both defends laws already adopted by Kansans such as a ban on late-term live dismemberment abortions and informed consent. If the abortion industry operates in Kansas, they must be required to maintain basic health and safety standards required from other medical facilities.
 
A History Lesson:
Just prior to the 2019 Veto Session, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling in the case involving a challenge to the law the Legislature enacted banning live dismemberment abortion. The case had been before the Supreme Court for two years as the lives of countless unborn children hung in the balance.

Unfortunately, the worst fears of Kansans were realized in the decision. By a 6-1 vote, the Court invented an independent and distinct right to abortion under the Kansas Constitution, which was written in 1859. The consequences of the decision are dire as it threatens to undermine and overturn every pro-life law ever enacted in Kansas, including those which have been upheld by federal courts as it pertains to Roe v. Wade.

Immediately following the decision, the Kansas Truth Caucus issued a strong statement sharply criticizing the ruling and noting the dissent of Justice Caleb Stegall:
Truth Caucus: Shocking Kansas Supreme Court Dismemberment Abortion Ruling Threatens All Pro-Life Laws in Kansas

The Kansas Truth Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that declared an independent right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution, which was enacted in 1859. Because this shocking decision invented an independent right to abortion under the Kansas Constitution, it opens the floodgates for potential litigation on previously enacted laws that have been routinely upheld by federal courts.

“The ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court is extreme and sets in motion a process by which even the most basic protections of the unborn are under threat, even those which have been upheld under Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Ty Masterson, Chairman of the Truth Caucus. “The decision by the Court twists the words of the Kansas Constitution to usurp the rights and liberties of the people of Kansas, whose elected representatives have adopted laws by wide margins to protect both women and their unborn children. We pledge to work to enact a Constitutional Amendment which will allow the people of Kansas to reclaim the Kansas Constitution and restore its fundamental truth as a document that protects the life and liberty of all human beings in Kansas.”

The Kansas Truth Caucus also pointed to the lengthy dissent of Justice Caleb Stegall, which includes these statements:

"Reading today's majority opinion is a follow-the-white-rabbit experience. One is left feeling like Alice, invited by the Queen to believe "'as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'" Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass 100 (1899). Indeed, the story told by the majority is a strange one. In it, all the luminaries of the western legal tradition— from Sir Edward Coke and William Blackstone to Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson—would celebrate and enshrine a right to nearly unfettered abortion access. In this imagined world, the Liberty Bell rings every time a baby in utero loses her arm."

"The majority's decision is so consequential because it fundamentally alters the structure of our government to magnify the power of the state—all while using that power to arbitrarily grant a regulatory reprieve to the judicially privileged act of abortion. In the process, the majority abandons the original public meaning of section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights and paints the interest in unborn life championed by millions of Kansans as rooted in an ugly prejudice. For these reasons, I dissent."
A number of informative articles have been written regarding the breadth of the decision and why it must be overturned. Here is a sampling:


The Kansas Truth Caucus signaled in May it was ready to support a Constitutional Amendment and is ready to do so now.
Wallet Watch
From time to time, the Truth Report will have a “Wallet Watch”, where we examine efforts to remove money from the wallets of hard-working Kansans. 

Ronald Reagan once warned us, “ “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” 

This prophetic warning showed itself this week, when Governor Laura Kelly announced her proposal to tax all digital property and subscription services include digital audio-visual works, digital audio works, digital books, artwork, digital photographs and pictures, periodicals, newspapers, magazines, video, audio and other greeting cards, graphics, applications (desktop, mobile, web, and cloud-based) games (online, video, and electronic), digital codes and streaming services.”

Kansans, already burdened by a high sales tax rate, would now see a sales tax on services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. All so government can spend more of your money.