The Governor submitted a bill last week that proposes expansion of KanCare. Kansas is one of only a few states that has not approved Medicaid expansion, in spite of the fact that 77% of Kansans believe that expanding Medicaid is right for the state of Kansas.
You may recall the legislature passed Medicaid Expansion in 2017, but the bill was later vetoed by Governor Brownback. To date, Kansans have lost over $3 billion dollars of their taxes to the federal government due to the failure to expand Medicaid. That money should be helping our people, our hospitals, our state.
We’ve seen Republican and Democratic-led states across the country find consensus on Medicaid expansion to benefit their citizens, their communities and their economies. Healthcare is a critical need for all Kansans. And for too many, it’s still inaccessible and unaffordable. It's time to bring our dollars back home.
By expanding KanCare - the state’s Medicaid program - we can help our hospitals and clinics stay open and provide affordable health care to 150,000 more Kansans - no matter where they live.
States that have passed Medicaid expansion have seen significant economic benefits – new jobs, hospitals and clinics remaining open, and a healthier workforce. Additionally, we know that rural communities cannot survive without hospitals and affordable healthcare. So, Medicaid expansion is critical to revitalizing our rural communities.
Technical Changes from 2017 Bridge to a Healthy Kansas
The 2019 version has a few changes from the 2017 version that are technical in nature: specifically permitting KanCare Expansion to address the “Schultz Amendment” prohibition against adopting expansion (Section 1), removing language that requires state residency for 12 months that caused issues of constitutionality for the Revisor’s Office in (Section 2) , clarifying that KDHE is permitted to submit a State Plan Amendment and/or an 1115 Waiver to implement expansion (Section 6) and updating the name of the Community Care Network of Kansas from KAMU (Section 12).
Substantive Change from 2017 Bridge to a Healthy Kansas
The 2019 version has one substantive change from the 2017 version. In the “poison pill” provision in Section 13, the 2019 version allows KDHE to end KanCare Expansion if the federal government reduces the federal contribution rate from 90 percent (“may”) while the 2017 version required KDHE to end KanCare Expansion if the federal government reduced the rate (“shall”).
I’m pleased the governor is providing leadership on this important issue and that she has presented a bill to expand KanCare (Medicaid). I hope you will contact your legislators to urge them to support this important bill.
Joy has blogged extensively about her experience and activities in the legislature and beyond.