Lieutenant Governor Toland, Rural Hospital
Leaders Discuss Medicaid Expansion
Impacts on Local Economies

Today, Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland hosted a Healthy Workers, Healthy Economy roundtable at Labette Health in Parsons. Rural hospital leaders and legislators discussed the impacts Medicaid expansion would have on healthcare and the economy in Southeast Kansas. 

“Rural hospitals play a key role in keeping both Kansas communities and local economies healthy,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “When our rural hospitals struggle, our businesses and workforce feel the impact. We must expand Medicaid so Kansans can access essential care, we can continue our unprecedented economic growth, and keep creating new jobs across the state.” 

“Medicaid has been vital for people who have no resources for needed care,” said State Representative Ron Bryce. “Prior to becoming a state representative, I was a physician, providing care for the homeless, the working poor, and others in need. I know the workings of Medicaid first-hand from the point of view of the provider as well as the patient. We need to weigh the pluses as well as the minuses as we work to help those in need and improve the economy in southeast Kansas.” 

“Access to health care is a vital component of economic development and a healthy local economy,” said Brian Williams, CEO of Labette Health. “Expanding Medicaid in Kansas would provide additional resources to hospitals allowing increased access to health care. As a Republican voter, I fully support Governor Kelly’s economic initiative to expand Medicaid for Kansans.” 

Here’s how expanding Medicaid would benefit rural hospitals and the economy: 

  • Medicaid expansion is associated with improved hospital financial performance and significant reductions in the probability of hospital closure, especially in rural areas. 
  • The retention of even smaller than average sized hospital or nursing facility in a rural community creates economic ripples that sustain local grocery stores, eating places, and retailers. 
  • Quality health care has been shown to improve business productivity, aid in the recruitment and retention of businesses, and attract and retains retirees. 
  • Kansas does not save money by refusing expansion — it simply gives up the opportunity to bring tax dollars back to our state. Kansans have already paid nearly $7 billion in federal taxes to fund Medicaid expansion in other states. 

Roundtable participants included: 

  • State Representative Ron Bryce, R-Coffeyville 
  • State Representative Dan Goddard, R-Parsons 
  • Ruth Duling, CEO, Girard Hospital 
  • Brian Williams, CEO, Labette Health 
  • Tom Hood, CEO, Wilson Medical Center 
  • Former State Representative Jim Kelly, R-Independence 

Photos from the event for media use are available below.