Governor's Substance Abuse Task Force recommends Medicaid expansion

Published: Aug. 23, 2018 at 2:30 PM CDT
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The debate over Medicaid expansion spilled into the final meeting of the Governor's Substance Abuse Task Force.

More than two dozen leaders from state agencies joined substance abuse experts, law enforcement, and concerned members of the public to brainstorm solutions for the opioid crisis.

A major topic of debate was whether they should recommend Medicaid expansion in order to offer more services for substance abuse treatment and prevention.

Ten people voted in favor of recommending the Medicaid expansion, with five people not in favor, and four abstentions. However, the draft of recommendations to forward still is not finalized.

A spokesperson with KDHE said the group may hold another conference via phone to finalize recommendations.

Current Gov. Jeff Colyer, who originated the task force, and GOP gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach oppose Medicaid expansion, while Democrat Laura Kelly and independent candidate Greg Orman support it to some extent.

KDHE’s Chief Medical Officer Greg Lakin said the task force had no shortage of ideas.

"So many of them have to deal with trying to provide additional services, and more comprehensive services for treatment,” Lakin said. “A lot of it is really concerning preventive care cause that's really where you can make a big difference fast."

Recommendations will be sent to the Governor by September 1st.