Archive for Thursday, February 23, 2006

Health care initiative needed

February 23, 2006

All across the United States, working families are struggling to pay their bills. Not only have gas prices spiraled upward, but the cost to heat one's home has ballooned, and almost every living expense has grown far beyond the increases in personal income.

One of the most necessary costs for any American family is adequate and affordable health care. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Kansas Legislature are working diligently to drive down these costs and give Kansans the support they need.

In Kansas alone, 300,000 people are uninsured. And contrary to popular belief, 95 percent of those less-fortunate Kansans live in a household where someone works.

Since taking office in 2003, the governor has done much to address the rising cost of health care. She, along with Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, established the Healthy Kansas initiative.

The goal of this multi-faceted initiative was to contain runaway health care costs, streamline the health care system, and make health insurance and prescription drugs more affordable.

During the 2005 legislative session, the Kansas Legislature acted upon the request of the governor to address the ever escalating costs of health care and health insurance. We worked in a bipartisan fashion and created the Kansas Health Policy Authority.

This group is charged with improving the health of Kansans by increasing the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of health services and public health programs.

This group of health care professionals will examine every state expenditure that is related to health care.They will develop plans to reduce administrative costs, increase Kansas' purchasing power, increase the number of insured Kansans, and streamline health programs, such as Medicaid.

We hope that by examining Kansas' health care system we can make health care more affordable for Kansas families.

This year, the governor once again called on the Legislature to address health care. She proposed providing health insurance for all Kansas kids birth to age 5 who do not already have access to it. By doing so, the state of Kansas will ensure that all kids are given the healthy start they deserve.

With a healthy start and top-notch health services, Kansans will have a better chance to grow, learn and live a healthy life.

Anthony Hensley

Kansas Senate minority leader

Commenting has been disabled for this item.