Healthcare

Hospital Announces Closure After Brownback Vetoes Medicaid

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, the worst governor in the nation, vetoed Medicaid expansion earlier this month and the disastrous results are already being felt.

St. Francis Health, a hospital not far from the location where Brownback vetoed Medicaid expansion, has announced that it will close because of the governor's veto.

Its owner, Denver-based SCL Health, said Tuesday it will cease operation this summer but will try to find a new operator. It said the hospital had lost $117 million over five years, and the number of patients had decreased dramatically.

“Additionally, without expanded Medicaid coverage and other challenges related to public programs, St. Francis experienced added pressure,” the company said, adding that uncompensated and charity care more than doubled from 2012 to 2016.

One of the primary goals of Obamacare was to reduce the amount of money we spend on healthcare by reducing the amount of uncompensated care. Medicaid expansion went a long way toward closing the gap, but that obviously doesn't apply if your state refuses to expand Medicaid.

St. Francis Health is far from the only local provider facing financial stress according to this excellent report from The Wichita Eagle, and the local medical community appears to be overwhelmingly in favor of expanding Medicaid, but the state legislature fell just 3 votes short of overriding Brownback's veto.

Brownback says Medicaid expansion is "irresponsible and unsustainable," which actually perfectly describes his own behavior.

If another operator does not take over St. Francis Health in the coming months, over 1,600 employees will lose their jobs.

  • Badgerite

    It is the rural areas of the country who can now expect to be under served or not served at all in terms of medical care due to the people whom they voted for. The GOP. It is a shame, but there it is. This is what they voted for. Anyone in those rural areas who thinks trump or his money obsessed family give a flying crap about them are certainly not “educated”. Not politically any way. Their cure is to get “educated”. Politically. And vote for the people who really do value them versus those who will fawn over them, but do not really value them. It is that simple.
    And President Obama actually valued them as people. While they threw poop at him no less. trump and his family would refer to them as …..”losers”. In private, at least.

  • mnpollio

    I do feel sorry for the employees of the hospital and the people who now have that much less of an option for health care. Yet I still can’t help but think on the flip side “What the hell does it take for Kansans to vote this bastard out of office?”

    • katanahamon

      When will people demand a verifiable system of voting that guarantees accuracy and transparency? Numbers show up on a screen..where the H did they come from?

  • muselet

    Medicaid expansion reduces but doesn’t eliminate financial stress on hospitals, especially small and rural hospitals. However, no sane hospital administrator would argue against Medicaid expansion, and neither would any sane legislator or governor.

    Last month, Brownback rejected a bill that would have expanded eligibility to people with incomes up to $24,600 for a family of four.

    […]

    An effort to override the veto fell three votes short in the House.

    [emphasis added]

    So much for sanity in Kansas.

    –alopecia

  • katanahamon

    “Reap what you sow..” for my biblically inclined Kansans so proud of their blurring of church and state. Until their constituents suffer the results of their failed policies, real change won’t happen. So, I’m sorry for the deaths and suffering, but, they brought it on themselves. It’s been great fun for the Repubs to issue non stop vituperation and lies, propaganda and rhetoric, but where the rubber meets the road it turns out they are only good at the criticism, not the governing.

    • Scopedog

      I’m afraid you’re right on this–all of it.

    • Aynwrong

      Well said.

  • Georgie

    Shit, I feel for the people who worked there, and for the ones who counted on it for health options. Brownback is terrible.

  • Aynwrong

    I don’t mean to sound calloused, but I wonder how many of those 1,600 employees voted for Brownback as well the patients who will now have to seek healthcare elsewhere.

    Elections have consequences.

    • ninjaf

      Or how many failed to vote (just as bad, in my opinion)?

      • Aynwrong

        If they gave up the opportunity to try and get rid of him? Absolutely.

    • JMAshby

      I understand the temptation to feel this way, but we have to remember that Brownback won by a very narrow margin. 49 percent of the state did not vote for him. It’s hard for me to dismiss half the state.

      I feel a bit differently about this than I do, say, people in Coal Country who voted for Trump by overwhelming margins of 20-30 percent. They can go screw themselves.