Federal civil rights investigation requested in shootings at Jewish Community Center parking lot

Human rights activist Alvin Sykes is calling for a federal criminal civil rights investigation into the shooting deaths of three persons Sunday afternoon near the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan.

Two persons were killed near the Jewish Community Center and one near Village Shalom center in Overland Park, Kan., this afternoon.

Early news coverage stated that some witnesses said a suspect yelled “Heil Hitler” after being arrested.

Sykes has asked the U.S. attorney general’s office for a federal civil rights investigation.

The Jewish Community Center of Overland Park posted this message on its Facebook page this afternoon:

“Our hearts go out to the families who have suffered loss on this tragic day. Our heartfelt gratitude as well to all those in Kansas City and around the world who have expressed sympathy, concern and support.

“No shooting occurred inside the Jewish Community Center buildings; the shooting occurred in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Campus. Everyone participating in JCC programming has been…released to their homes.

“In the meantime, the Jewish Community Center will be closed tomorrow. Again, our hearts go out to all those affected and touched by this terrible tragedy.”

I-635 lanes at Gibbs Road to be reduced Sunday morning

Northbound and southbound I-635 at Gibbs Road will be reduced to one lane each direction between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 13, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.

During the lane closure, AT&T crews will place a telephone line across the roadway.

The Kansas Highway Patrol will assist with a “rolling roadblock” to slow traffic as crews stretch the utility line across the highway. Traffic will be directed through the work zone via cones and signage, and via KHP vehicles during the rolling roadblock portion.

Motorists are urged to slow down when approaching and driving through the work zone, a KDOT spokesman said.

Few poor Kansans qualify for Medicaid

by Kansas Health Institute (KHI)

Topeka — It is a common misconception that all poor Kansans are eligible for Medicaid.

In reality, only a few are actually eligible.

Medicaid is a publicly financed source of health insurance for low-income individuals. The cost of the program is split between the federal and state governments. Federal law requires some populations to be covered, but states have a lot of flexibility in the program to cover additional populations.

Therefore, income eligibility levels vary greatly among the states.   Kansas offers Medicaid coverage to children, pregnant women, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and parents whose income is below the state’s threshold to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as required by federal law. Kansas does not extend Medicaid coverage to many other adults. As a result, Kansas has some of the strictest Medicaid income constraints for adults in the nation.

The Affordable Care Act required states to provide Medicaid coverage to all adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), which equals $32,913 per year for a family of four.

However, a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision made Medicaid expansion essentially optional for states, and Kansas officials have not expanded the program. Expansion requires legislative approval, and with the legislative session winding down, it looks like a decision won’t be made this calendar year.

“Currently, less than 10 percent of the entire Kansas Medicaid/CHIP population are non-disabled adults under age 65,” said Scott C. Brunner, senior analyst and strategy team leader at the Kansas Health Institute, and the state’s former Medicaid director. “Most of them are required populations under federal law. To qualify for Medicaid, Kansas parents must make no more than 38 percent of the federal poverty level, or $9,063 annually for a family of four. Childless adults do not qualify, even if they have no income at all.”

To inform the discussion KHI has released a new issue brief that examines in detail who is-and who is not-currently eligible for the combined Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program in Kansas.  The issue brief on this topic is at http://media.khi.org/news/documents/2014/04/09/AdultsInMedicaid0409.pdf.

The Kansas Health Institute delivers credible information and research enabling policy leaders to make informed health policy decisions that enhance their effectiveness as champions for a healthier Kansas. The Kansas Health Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy and research organization based in Topeka, established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.