Kris Kobach is pants-on-fire lying about Medicaid costs


Even the hacks who gave Kobach the idea for his Medicaid policy have no idea what he's talking about when he says it would save Kansas $2 billion.

Republican Kris Kobach is lying to Kansans about how much money his harmful policies could save, just two weeks before voters pick the state's new governor.

Kobach is locked in a surprisingly close race for governor with Democrat Laura Kelly.

Part of Kobach's closing pitch is not only to hurt low-income Kansans by ramping work requirements even further for participants in Kansas' Medicaid program — but also to claim, without evidence, that he can save $2 billion by radically transforming the state's health care safety net program.

He wants to do that by combining the state's Medicaid program — which serves 400,000 disabled, elderly and women residents — with something called direct primary care.

That's a system where patients can pay doctors an annual fee for unlimited primary care, and the doctors can charge less by not accepting health insurance.

However, direct care has never been tried on the scale Kobach is advocating, and experts have no idea if it would even work with Medicaid patients.

What's more, even the dubious "experts" Kobach cites on the matter have no idea what he's talking about when he says the program could save $2 billion.

"The people who gave Kobach the idea say they haven’t calculated that direct primary care would save $2 billion for Kansas Medicaid," Kansas City public radio station KCUR reports. "And Kobach’s campaign hasn’t provided an alternative source for that number."

That might be because the whole notion is absurd, according to the former Kansas Medicaid director, Robert Day, who worked with both Republican and Democratic administrations.

"These people are idiots," Day said, referring to the two people Kobach got the idea from, Steve Anderson and Josh Umbehr. "They know nothing about health care financing or costs. To make the statements they make, it's just blatantly  — it's so untrue and unfactual that it staggers the mind they would even say something publicly like that."

Meanwhile, Republican candidates across the country are actively lying to voters about their attempts to gut health care — even as GOP leaders in the Senate promise to try to dismantle Obamacare once again next year.

But Kobach's record of fabrications is so unsavory, it inspired several high-profile Kansas Republicans to take the unprecedented step, in a deeply red state, of publicly supporting Kobach's Democratic opponent.

Mike Hayden, the former GOP governor of Kansas, Mike Hayden, endorsed Kelly last week. Former Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassebaum has also bolted across the aisle to publicly reject Kobach.

In his current role as Kansas’ secretary of state, Kobach has earned a reputation for being completely untrustworthy.

After Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016, he picked Kobach to co-chair a presidential commission to look into voter fraud, Kobach's supposed area of expertise. Trump himself regularly lies and insists “millions and millions” of American voted illegally.

But Kobach’s commission turned out to be a sham, and was disbanded without finding any evidence whatsoever of widespread voter fraud.

It wasn't surprising that Kobach couldn't find this evidence. That's because widespread voter fraud just doesn't happen — and not only that, it's completely crazy to imagine that it ever could happen, given how American elections actually work.

Kobach constantly makes things up and lie to voters. He lies about voter fraud, and now he's lying about Medicaid.