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Governor Introduces Medicaid Expansion Legislation | Area

Earlier this month, Gov. Laura Kelly announced that her bills to provide access to affordable health care for low-wage and hard-working Kansans have been introduced in both the Kansas House and Kansas Senate committees. .

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Expanding Medicaid will not only provide health care to hundreds of thousands of hard-working Kansans, it will also strengthen our economy, strengthen rural communities, and bring hard-earned dollars back to our state,” Governor Kelly said. “Expansion of Medicaid has bipartisan support from 39 other states, including all of our neighbors. We have to do it.”

Kansas taxpayers have paid more than $6 billion for affordable health care coverage through federal taxes, but have yet to see a penny of that investment. The Medicaid program will be paid for in 90% federal funding effective January 1, 2024.

If Medicaid is expanded, Kansas could receive an additional $370 million in federal dollars over the next two years, enough to cover the state’s share of the expansion costs for up to eight years. Failure to expand Medicaid this year could result in a loss of $70 million in overhead savings for the next fiscal year.

“Over 70 percent of Kansas supports expanding Medicaid. A vote against this bill is belligerent and political,” House Democratic leader Vic Miller said. “Expanding Medicaid isn’t just a sound health care policy, even if lives are at its core, it’s a workforce and economic development policy. The state has spent $6 billion in federal funding and counting, lives have been lost, jobs are leaving the state,” people are hurting, and hospitals are closing. Expand Medicaid already.”

Organizations across the state also support Governor Kelly’s plan to expand KanCare, the program through which the state of Kansas administers Medicaid.

“The expansion of Medicaid will enable thousands of people to get the health and mental health care they need to keep jobs vital to the state’s economy,” said Brenda Sharpe, president and chief executive officer of the REACH Healthcare Foundation. . “The expansion of KanCare will help employers remain competitive with our surrounding states, which have all expanded Medicaid. The Kansans understand that health care is a necessity and are ready for a solution that will help workers, families and neighbors “.

“Kansas has fallen even further behind in national health care rankings in recent decades. Expanding Medicaid is an obvious and necessary choice that will help restore Kansas to the ranks of one of the healthiest states in America,” said Ed O’Malley, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Health Foundation.. “This is not a progressive or conservative choice. It is simply a common-sense move to provide health care for Kansan workers. Economic opportunity is a major determinant of health. Too many Kansans see their economic opportunities limited due to the inability to access affordable health care.”

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