Legislation to expand Medicaid access in Kansas introduced in House, Senate

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Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 1:00 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Legislation to expand Medicaid access to low-income individuals in Kansas has been introduced in both the House and Senate.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced on Tuesday, Feb. 7, that her bills to provide affordable healthcare to low-income hardworking Kansans have been introduced in both the Kansas House and Senate. With Medicaid expansion, she said taxpayers will have access to healthcare services they already pay for through federal taxes.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: expanding Medicaid will not only provide health care to hundreds of thousands of hardworking Kansans, it will also boost our economy, strengthen rural communities, and bring hard-earned dollars back to our state,” said Gov. Kelly. “Expanding Medicaid has received the bipartisan support of 39 other states, including every one of our neighbors. We must get this done.”

Kelly indicated that taxpayers have paid more than $6 billion for affordable healthcare coverage through federal taxes but have yet to see that investment materialize. The program will be paid for with 90% federal funds and would start in 2024.

“Over 70% of Kansans support expanding Medicaid. A vote against this bill is belligerent and political,” House Democratic Leader Vic Miller said. “Medicaid expansion is not only a sound healthcare policy, although lives are at its core -- It’s a workforce and economic development policy. The state has passed up $6 billion in federal funding and counting, lives have been lost, jobs are leaving the state, people are suffering, and hospitals are closing. Expand Medicaid, already.”

If Medicaid is expanded, the Governor said the Sunflower State could get another $370 million in federal funds over the next two years which would cover the state’s share of expansion costs for up to 8 years.

“Kansans overwhelmingly support Medicaid expansion,” Senator Pat Pettey, Kansas Senate Dist. 6, said. “They understand that expansion will create jobs, and strengthen health care providers across the state, especially in our rural areas. Now is the time for Medicaid Expansion.”

If the legislation is not passed in this year’s budget, Kelly said $70 million in State General Fund Savings will be lost in the next fiscal year.

“The Kansas Hospital Association continues to support KanCare Expansion and the benefits it will bring to Kansas,” Chad Austin, President and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association, said. “Expansion improves the health of Kansans by improving access to tens of thousands of hardworking Kansans who cannot access affordable health care coverage.”

The Governor noted that organizations throughout the state support her plan to expand KanCare - the program that Kansas uses to administer Medicaid.