The Importance of Health Care to the Kansas Economy: Why the Kansas Republican Campaign Against Health Care Reform is a Job Killer

We need to let ultra-conservative Kansas legislators such as Brenda Landwehr, chair of the House Health & Human Services Committee (if you can believe that), know that government health care dollars are good for our economy and good for the sinking middle class.  Ms Landwehr has been on the Koch billionaire (“Kochtopus”) bus traveling across Kansas with other members of the evangelical, right-wing (of the anti-choice-anti-life variety) legislative delegation in an attempt to keep federal health care dollars out of Kansas (see my e-mail of 11/21, entitled “Mean-Ass Kansas Republican Health Care Proposal”).

Please direct Ms Landwehr’s and her Republican cohorts’ attention to a report issued by the Kansas Hospital Association entitled “The Importance of the Health Care Sector to the Kansas Economy.”  The report can be accessed at

Perhaps readers of this blog would think that a report that discusses social accounting matrix analysis (SAM) is a real eye glazer and only for policy wonks of the highest order.  But it isn’t – really, honestly.  Take my word for it.  It is quite fascinating.  The first paragraph should make it clear that the Republican campaign to keep health care dollars out of Kansas is a “job killer.”  It states the following:

“Though the connection between health care services and local economic development are often overlooked, there are at least three important relationships to be recognized.  A strong health care system can attract and maintain business and industry growth, attract and retain retirees, and also create jobs in the local area.” (page 1)

The report can be boiled down to this:  the health care industry is approaching 20% of GDP across this nation and in Kansas.  It accounts for a very large payroll in Kansas and every other state.  How large?  The health care industry in Kansas provides 177,585 direct Kansas health care jobs and, due to a multiplier effect, accounts for a total of 290,728 jobs.  Employees of hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other health related institutions purchase goods and services from other businesses.  This is the multiplier effect.

In a state with a work force of slightly less than 1.8 million, a 290,728 (16.4%) job producing segment of the economy is a big deal.  When these Republicans start messing with it, they should be called to account. 

It is my intention to gin up a campaign to not only save but to increase jobs in Kansas by supporting health care legislation that would increase federal tax dollars directed toward coverage of the uninsured and underinsured citizens of this state.  We can most certainly count on Marci Francisco – who receives my post notices – but we need to support her and insure that all Democrat and reasonable Republican representatives (i.e. Tom Sloan) are aware of our concern about this.

0 thoughts on “The Importance of Health Care to the Kansas Economy: Why the Kansas Republican Campaign Against Health Care Reform is a Job Killer

  1. The private health care industry will continue to grow. Think
    National Health Insurance as a key to new economic growth
    and how many more Toyota factories can the USA afford to lose to Canada?

    After celebrating thanksgiving we took in a relaxing evening with Nightly Business Report:

    Careers for the Next Decade-Patient Advocate

    SUSIE GHARIB: One career area that’s fairly immune to the economy’s ups and downs is health care. While many health care professions require extensive education and training, that’s not the case with our next career: patient advocate or care manager. As Jeff Yastine reports, people who choose this field have many different possibilities.

    JEFF YASTINE, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Olga Brunner is one type of patient advocate. She’s a geriatric care manager. Her job is to look after the needs of aging clients like Jo Ann Valentine. Valentine lives by herself. Her husband died nearly a decade ago. She’s healthy and active and not interested in living in a nursing home. Her adult children, who live out of state, hired Brunner, to oversee their mother’s care. That includes not just visits by day nurses, but taking Valentine to health- related appointments, sitting in on talks with doctors and helping her navigate the paper maze of prescriptions, bills and Medicare rules.

    OLGA BRUNNER, A GOOD DAUGHTER, INC.: Family members love that we’re here. They don’t have to leave where they’re living to fly down and get here from month to month to see, oh, what’s the new problem this month? They can rely on us.

    YASTINE: Besides geriatric care managers, the emerging profession of patient advocates includes other categories: patient representatives generally work for hospitals, explaining in-house procedures and policies, listening to complaints and solving problems regarding medical treatment. Independent patient advocates are hired by patients themselves, usually on an hourly basis. They help resolve coverage issues, billing errors and other conflicts with insurance companies, hospitals, and providers. Kevin Flynn runs

    KEVIN FLYNN, CEO, HEALTHCARE ADVOCATES: What an advocate does is their job is to work today’s healthcare system, making sure you maximize your benefits, you maximize your outcomes and you reduce your out-of-pocket costs. They’re there to protect you both medically and financially and also they’re there help you ease through the situation you’re in.

    YASTINE: So how does someone pursue a career as a patient advocate? Most who work in the field already have professional experience and are trained in other healthcare areas like nursing or administration. Some, like Flynn, learned how to navigate the healthcare system from the inside out as former patients. Getting into the field is fairly easy. Almost anyone can call himself or herself a generic patient advocate. There are no real licensing requirements or professional certifications. However, becoming a geriatric care manager or GCM requires a certification overseen by a professional peer organization. Among the few academic programs in this field, the University of Miami offers an online healthcare advocacy certificate. School executive Marcy Ullom says it’s gaining traction.

    MARCYULLOM, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: We get between five and 10 inquiries a day. We’ve been very pleased. Having been in this business a long time and seen a whole lot of startup programs, this has taken off in terms of inquiries and interest rapidly.

    YASTINE: As far as job growth goes, consider this: the number of Americans age 65 years and older will grow by more than 50 percent over the next decade. Those people will need increased medical care. And because the U.S. health care system is likely get only more complex, with or without health care reform, there is little doubt about the need for more patient advocates. Jeff Yastine, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Miami.

    SUSIE GHARIB: Following up on Jeff Yastine’s last point, I asked Marty Nemko what kind of impact the changes in the health care system have on patient advocates.

    NEMKO: Any changes are going to lead to more complications because any of the standard practices that a person may have had in trying to get his health care covered, it may change under the new system. But even without any changes, there’s simply the difficulty of getting a diagnosis, who are you going to see for a second opinion? How are you going to prepare for a hospital stay? How should you prepare for your doctor’s visits? How should you interpret the bills? T here is an enormous need for patient advocates.

    GHARIB: Marty, we know that this whole area of health care is going to be a top growth field for careers, but why do you think being a patient advocate is the best specialty area among health care professionals?

    NEMKO: Everybody knows there’s going to be a need for more nurse practitioners, physician assistants, et cetera, but most people have never even heard of patient advocate so it’s under the radar. The competition may be less rigorous. Also just from a personal emotional standpoint, thank God I’m healthy, but if I wasn’t, I would be scared to death. Boy would I want to have a patient advocate that could help me wend my way through that disease diagnosis, treatments and paying for it. So that’s why.

    GHARIB: How do you train to be a patient advocate?

    NEMKO: Right now if I were to advise somebody on how to get the best training, first of all, ask yourself in your heart of hearts, are you one of those people who’s got the drive to be able to work your way through a bureaucracy? Are you not afraid to call three or four times that doctor’s office to make sure you get that appointment soon? Are you not afraid to go and dig up a lot of Internet research? Are you not afraid to go to Medicare and say, how could you not cover that? Some of it is the personality, the temperament and the intellectual firepower to do it, but some of it also is knowledge of the health care system and that’s why either being a nurse or a medical social worker is a great entree point.

  2. 50 miion more with insurance will increase demand for medical services and :

    * med equipment sales
    * med equipment tech/repair
    * med equipment training institutions
    * nurse training
    * radiology tech
    * lab tech
    * etc etc
    * former insurance staffers can move into the patient advocate fields
    * knowing chinese,russian and spanish will be a plus