Leaders get in heated exchange on Obamacare grant

The president may be in the hot seat with the Affordable Care Act, and this morning, Sedgwick County Commissioners exchanged rather strong words about it.

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WICHITA -- The president may be in the hot seat with the Affordable Care Act, and this morning, Sedgwick County Commissioners exchanged rather strong words about it.

"I'm not endorsing Obamacare. Don't put that in my mouth," said commissioner Dave Unruh.

"Well, then don't say it," commissioner Karl Peterjohn said back.

Tuesday Morning, Peterjohn, Unruh and the rest of the commission met to plan Wednesday morning's weekly agenda.

When Peterjohn proposed that the commission review a new grant for residents and Obamacare, things quickly escalated into a shouting match.

"Hey gentlemen. I'm calling this meeting to order and the chair is in charge here," said commission chairman James Skelton, as the other two argued. "So let's not get into an argument. Hold on. Hold on and quit pointing at each other."

Peterjohn asked the commission to discuss a new $2,400 grant for Comcare. County manager Bill Buchanan said the grant was compiled by several non-profit organizations. The funds will help train county employees to be navigators to assist citizens with the Affordable Care Act.

"It's not important at all," Buchanan said, when asked about the value of the grant money. "We've already trained a person. That's what we do. We provide service to the public. Someone comes into us who's mentally ill and needs help, we will do our best to try to help them in any way we can."

Thus far, Buchanan said the county has had little need to help residents. He expects that demand could pick up as a deadline to sign up for healthcare approaches.

In October, 371 Kansans selected a health insurance plan through the marketplace.

Peterjohn said the low enrollment is a sign that the county should reject the program he calls a failure.

"Sedgwick County has been opposed to this federal government takeover of one-sixth of the nation's economy, in effect, and it's deeply flawed," he said. "It's going to cost county taxpayers over $1.1 million. It's not working."

Skelton said the commission may address the grant at its meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m.


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