That’s Not Sausage!

An Op-Ed from State Representative Bill Sutton


Making sausage isn’t pretty, but when done correctly, it’s pretty tasty. However, throw a handful of fecal matter into the mix, and even the freshest of spices and choicest cuts of meat aren’t enough to get anyone with common sense to eat it.

Republican Sens. Jim Denning and Molly Baumgardner — along with a handful of others — want you to see past the excrement they’re flinging and taste the sausage anyway. That’s the message from a recent joint press conference with Denning, Governor Laura Kelly and Kansas Democrats.

The pair gleefully announced a Medicaid expansion plan that will toss about 50,000 people off of their private insurance and add 150,000 Kansans to the welfare rolls without requiring able-bodied adults to work all at the expense of the unsuspecting public who has been sold sausage filled with digestive waste.

Here’s the truth about Medicaid expansion.

Existing Medicaid already covers the disabled, pregnant women and children. Adding 150,000 Kansans — one-third of whom already have private insurance– simply allows able-bodied adults without children to compete for services with the truly needy.

Meanwhile, it won’t save rural hospitals. Gov. Kelly admitted as much in a guest column in the Kansas City Star last April. In fact, the biggest beneficiaries of Medicaid expansion will be urban hospitals like the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, which stands to gain $52 million from taxpayers in expansion funding and Via Christi Hospital in Wichita which will pocket $29 million from taxpayers.

Expansion won’t prevent people from using emergency rooms for basic medical services. A Brookings Institution study found that ER visits increased by 20 percent in expansion states. Still, expansion proponents continue to spread the falsehood that expansion will mean fewer ER visits and therefore reduced cost.

Speaking of costs, Kansas taxpayers will need a vice grip on their wallets if Denning and Kelly are successful in passing their expansion sausage. Every state that has expanded Medicaid has faced dramatic cost overruns. That spells trouble for the Kansas budget, which will be underwater in about three years without Medicaid expansion and its estimated $1 billion in additional spending.

With all of the above thrown into the legislative meat grinder, the final product Denning, Kelly and friends are asking Kansans to eat looks and smells like it came out of someone’s backend. 

When Minny, a fictional maid in the civil rights-era South in the film “The Help,” flavored a pie with excrement, she did it to exact revenge on a ruthless former employer. The jury is still out on exactly who or what Denning and friends are trying to avenge with their similarly flavored legislative sausage.