Advocates outraged Kansas Legislature ends session with no Medicaid action

FILE - Kansas State House
FILE - Kansas State House(MGN)
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 12:26 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Cancer patient advocates are outraged that the Kansas Legislature has completed another session with no action on considered Medicaid expansions.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says on Thursday, May 4, that the Kansas Legislature recently completed another session and left the issue of Medicaid expansion unresolved. The move comes despite bipartisan support from voters to take action.

“Last week’s action to close yet another session without ensuring affordable health coverage for 150,000 Kansans marks yet another day where lawmakers directly put their constituents’ health at risk,” said Megan Word, Kansas government relations director for ACS CAN. “Their political stalling is not a light matter for Kansas families touched by cancer: it’s life or death. Numerous delays on the issue ignore the needs of the cancer patients and the daily obstacles they endure.”

ACS CAN said the 8-month break comes as the Sunflower State restarts eligibility determinations for Medicaid. The process is set to cancel health insurance from 16,000 Kansans. Currently, it said 150,000 Kansans are already in a coverage gap due to the legislature’s refusal to expand.

“Cancer patients and their families are among the most affected by continued inaction on Medicaid expansion and we will not allow the daily, lived experience of over 150,000 Kansans who are forced to forgo the lifesaving care and treatment they need to survive to be forgotten and their voices silenced,” Word noted.

Word said the timing is especially cruel as rules changed on May 1 and annual renewals have resumed. As a result, she said thousands more Kansans are now at risk of losing coverage.

“Here in Kansas, where lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid, many people who lose their Medicaid coverage will have no other coverage options,” Word concluded. “Legislative leadership has the opportunity to change such a dire reality with one vote: they should act on their responsibility to stand up for the well-being of Kansas families.”

Legislators are not expected to reconsider the issue until the 2024 session begins in January.