Thursday, February 22, 2007

Misleading mailer

I'm afraid there has been some confusion caused by an anonymous, and therefore illegal, postcard sent last week by what I believe to be one of my competitors.

The postcard suggests that I want to deny health care to indigents. To be clear, I do not want or plan to cut indigent health care. The post card takes out of context and exaggerates a response I made to a campaign questionnaire.

My answer on that questionnaire was based on my experience as City Auditor. In that role, I alerted the City Council in a budget review that Kansas City was the only major metropolitan city that subsidized indigent care through its general fund. I told the Council that the situation put the city at a competitive disadvantage and that indigent care should be funded through other means. The council agreed and subsequently the voters passed a property tax levy dedicated to health care.

I do want more accountability and results from the city's health care levy, which the city allocates to its Health Department and to a number of hospitals and clinics, including Truman Medical Center, Children's Mercy Hospital and the Kansas City Free Clinic.

The current system has resulted in appalling inequities in the quality of health care being received in our community, as measured by infant mortality and disease rates. The inequities break down along income and, even more troubling, racial lines.

When elected mayor I will demand more from those organizations that receive the funding and from the city's own Health Department. I will make sure that the city's health care dollars are given to organizations and programs that improve the health of Kansas Citians. And I will demand that the funds are not seen as "blank checks" by the hospitals and clinics that receive them.

Here is a link to the campaign questionnaire. The postcard quote was taken from the answer to the final question:

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