Topeka, Kan. – As announced in her first State of the State Address last week, Governor Laura Kelly is acting swiftly to expand affordable healthcare to 150,000 Kansans. Today, Kelly announced the formation of a bipartisan working group of healthcare stakeholders to spearhead Medicaid expansion efforts in 2019. She tasked the group with providing input on her legislative proposal to expand KanCare – the state’s Medicaid program – and to help shepherd the proposal through the Kansas Legislature.

“I’ve made no secret that expanding Kansans’ access to affordable, high-quality healthcare is one of my top priorities as governor,” Kelly said. “This working group is an important step forward in accomplishing this goal. We’ve assembled a group of top-notch leaders who can help us develop a plan that is financially sustainable and meets the unique needs of Kansas patients, hospitals, providers, and diverse communities.”

The bipartisan group, comprised of respected healthcare stakeholders and legislators, will finalize a proposal for Medicaid expansion by Kansas Day, Jan. 29th. The members of the working group and their current positions are listed below:

  • Tom Bell– President and CEO, Kansas Hospital Association
  • Rep. Susan Concannon– State Representative, District 107
  • Denise Cyzman– CEO, Community Care Network of Kansas
  • Cathy Harding– President and CEO, Wyandotte Health Foundation
  • April Holman– Executive Director, Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
  • Kyle Kessler– Executive Director, Association of Community Mental Health Centers
  • Dr. Lee Norman– Interim Secretary, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • Jon Rosell– Executive Director, Kansas Medical Society
  • Michael Stephens– President and CEO, Sunflower Health Plan
  • Suzanne Wikle– Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Law and Social Policy
  • Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore– State Representative, District 36

Kelly noted that this is not an all-inclusive list. After over five years of work, healthcare, business, and community leaders across the state have offered feedback and support for this endeavor. Kelly welcomes their continued engagement and advocacy throughout the legislative session.

“Medicaid Expansion will help every single Kansas community, which is why 77 percent of Kansans support it,” said Kelly. “It will create jobs, support rural hospitals, keep our tax dollars here in our state, and make Kansas families stronger. We need everyone to pitch in and help remind Kansas lawmakers why it’s so important that the Legislature finish the work they started in 2017, when they supported Medicaid Expansion overwhelmingly.”

Kansas is one of just 14 states left that has not yet expanded healthcare to families who desperately need it. Meanwhile, it has among the highest of adults with pre-existing conditions.

“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,” said Kelly. “It’s time we do the same in Kansas.”