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Letter to the editor: Tearing safety net

To the editor:

Late last month, Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration announced its intent to tie able-bodied adults’ Medicaid eligibility to their being employed.

Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, told the Topeka Capital-Journal, “There is no down side to work requirements. It’s good for their quality of life.” KDADS, she noted, had successfully nudged thousands of low-income families off the state’s TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) rolls.

She forgot to mention that both Medicaid and cash assistance (another name for TANF) are reserved for the poorest of the poor. For a nondisabled adult to be eligible for either benefit, he or she must be caring for children.

For a single, nondisabled adult with two young children to be on Medicaid, the family’s income cannot exceed $7,644 a year; that’s less than $650 a month. If they’re lucky, the family might get as much as $375 a month in cash assistance.

As administration officials were touting the benefits of forcing destitute parents into the low-wage workforce, Department for Child and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore found herself struggling to explain why the state’s foster-care numbers have gone through the roof in recent years.

A reasonable person might wonder if the increase has anything to do with the administration poking giant holes in a safety net that was already stretched thin.

Comments

Brock Masters

It is easy for me to say, if you can’t afford to take care of children then don’t have them, but I don’t know everyone’s story and that attitude won’t fix a problem we have with people living in poverty.

I agree that we should encourage able-bodied persons to work - it is in their best interest. How we do it is the question. I think a person receiving aid needs training assistance and then allows to keep the aid for a period of time after getting a job. Let them get back on their feet before ending the aid.

Also, there has to be a plan to provide accessible and affordable child care. Without it, people can’t work.

If used wisely, the dollars spent can be an investment.

1 week ago

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Carol Bowen

There also needs to be a jobs program. Kansas does not have many jobs to offer.

1 week ago

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Kendall Simmons

At least not decent-paying ones. And, nope, $8.50 an hour is NOT a decent-paying job.

6 days, 15 hours ago

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Bob Summers

The emotionally hypersensitive will say anything for a free lunch.

Anything.

I can only imagine how much wealth I would have if the emotionally hypersensitive in government and society did not parasite half of everything I make and fritter it away.

1 week ago

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Paul Beyer

Isn't half of zero still zero? Based on your prior posting under other names, you live off your employed spouses income, not your zero amount.

1 week ago

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Bob Summers

Exactly. Had only I been a Mormon with multiple wives to tend to my needs...

I still can only imagine how much wealth I would have if the emotionally hypersensitive, the bitter clingers like yourself, in government and society did not parasite half of everything I make them and they fritter away.

1 week ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

My niece is married to a great guy and they have a baby. She wanted to go back to work after a year, but when she checked into daycare, she would be going to work mostly to pay for the daycare. They have struggled by on his paycheck, but couldn't even get their young boy on CHIPS, health insurance for kids, because Kansas decided they didn't need to expand and allow poor families to even buy some insurance for their kids.

Now, what would have happened if she wasn't married to a great guy? What if he had dumped her and ran away, not paying child support. I know a lot of women in that situation. How do they go to work without day care? I wonder how many of the kids are in foster care, because the parent left them alone to go to work? How are you going to keep those kids from joining a gang, because they are latch key kids?

Maybe the state needs to provide some daycare to help these people go to work for their benefits. But of course, their plan is not help the poor. Their plan is to be able to kick them off benefits, so their "numbers" look good. They want to make themselves look good now; they could care less what kind of mess they are creating in the future.

Time to make corporations pay a living wage, and make them offer inexpensive insurance.

1 week ago

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Bob Summers

What's your point? What is your profound complex critically thought out government inculcated solution?

Take other peoples hard earned money they worked to scrimp and save, give it to your niece?

Like I said, The emotionally hypersensitive will say anything for a free lunch.

Anything.

1 week ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

Obviously, again, you didn't read my post. They don't get any services. And if you work a job shouldn't you get paid enough to afford health care. Are you really in favor of slave labor?

1 week ago

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Brock Masters

If he ran away she and the baby would be covered since she doesn’t work.

Why dint your niece and her husband look into the cost of having a baby before they had one and then decide to have one only when they could afford it without struggling?

We need to help the poor but people like your niece need to be accountable for their own actions too. Having a baby is a choice of a woman and they shouldn’t make the choice to have one until they can afford to properly care for it.

1 week ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

"Why dint your niece and her husband look into the cost of having a baby before they had one and then decide to have one only when they could afford it without struggling?"

You and Bob have reading problems, don't you. They are making making ends meet, and not on welfare, so you are putting them down because they are the working poor? Really? That's disgusting I get pretty sick of hearing how perfect you are, and how you have never made a wrong decision. It must be nice to be so superior. She has a hard working husband, but what if her husband had been a jerk. How would she make it then? And why is it up to women? It takes two to make a baby. Look it up.

By the way "dint" is not a word.

1 week ago

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Andrew Applegarth

"By the way "dint" is not a word."

You might want to check a dictionary Dorothy... It's not the proper word for that sentence (as I'm sure he meant "didn't"), but it is a word.

1 week ago

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Brock Masters

Andrew - you’re correct. I realized I had a typo after posting but dint go back and edit.

1 week ago

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Brock Masters

No Dorothy the choice to have a baby is the woman’s choice alone. And no, it doesn’t take two anymore. What kind of feminist are you?

1 week ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

Denying science again, huh.

1 week ago

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Brock Masters

Nope, artificial insemination. And a man cannot legally stop a woman from getting an abortion so it is a woman’s choice.

6 days, 23 hours ago

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Lynn Grant

So you agree that "having a baby is the choice of a woman" and that women should have access to birth control to prevent them from having a baby before they can afford to?

6 days, 15 hours ago

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Brock Masters

The courts have ruled on the issue and yes it is the woman’s choice to carry the baby to term or not

Woman have access to birth control already and I’d oppose changing it. Now if the question is should private companies be required to pay for it then the answer is no. However, I think other private organizations should step up Nd voluntarily provide it or subsidize it for poor women.

5 days, 11 hours ago

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Brock Masters

Something else to think about. You said she’d be going back to work mostly for paying for child care. Mostly means there would be money beyond childcare so that would help them save some money and she would be building her work history so in case her husband does leave her she may be able to work and support her child instead of having to rely on government asssistance.

1 week ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

Again, read the post again. She is NOT on welfare. And if you can't get a job that you have only $25 left over after day care, why let someone else raise your child? You can earn $25 by babysitting someone's kid when they have an evening out, and raise your own kid. Now, be a good boy and go back and read the post again. But it really won't matter, will it? You love looking down on poor people. Disgusting.

1 week ago

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Brock Masters

Read my post again. I dint :} say she was on welfare. Just question her choices for not working and having a baby that causes them to struggle. Should have waited.

1 week ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

Good lord. I hope you don't have a family or a wife.

1 week ago

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Bob Summers

Why would anyone create a family and not take care of them?

I guess that is why the term "baby daddy" was developed.

6 days, 16 hours ago

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Jeremy Smith

I am glad your niece and her man get by and are able to stay off welfare. However, not getting a job because it just covers the cost of daycare is an excuse and nothing more. She can look for a better paying job. She can start a job but work her way up to eventually get a raise and start making more money. It is not the governments responsibility to pay for your niece because she has thrown her hands up and said "it is hopeless". Where is the fight in people these days?

1 week ago

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Carol Bowen

In theory, yes, but Lawrence is an employment ghetto. Most jobs are part time, low wage, with erratic schedules.

6 days, 18 hours ago

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Steve King

Stunningly heartless. I guess if you live week to week it galls you to see someone get assistance. Even the children. That's why we don't want tax cuts for the rich. A society helps their poor. A society pools their resources (taxes) and build roads and bridges everyone can use. If you want to be smug about assistance to the bottom 1%, get off my highway, ride your horse across the fields. A country that can spend a billion a month chasing unicorns in Iraq certainly can push $500 a month to the poor.

1 week ago

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