Good morning. I’m pleased to be here with business leaders from across our state to talk about the importance of Medicaid expansion.

It’s no secret that Medicaid expansion is one of my top priorities. After traveling around Kansas for well over a year, it’s clear Kansans understand the desperate need to expand Medicaid.

They know it means affordable healthcare for up to 150,000 more Kansans. They know it means support for their local hospitals – urban and rural. And they know it means more good jobs.

Medicaid expansion will help every single Kansas community – which is why 77 percent of Kansans support it. It will create jobs, support rural hospitals, keep our tax dollars here in our state, and make Kansas families stronger.

Bottom line: the significant economic benefit from the 90/10, federal/state match will provide much needed funding for hospitals, clinics and communities across this state.

It is a relatively small investment of state funds for a significant influx of federal tax dollars returning to Kansas. Here are a few examples of what that means to real hospitals in our communities:

Last month, Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers visited Ascension Via Christi in Wichita. During that tour, hospital leaders said that they had to eliminate 540 jobs since 2013 as the hospital absorbed $42 million in Medicaid reimbursement cuts.

That’s a loss of $34 million in wages in the Wichita economy. That’s the impact of failing to expand Medicaid in our state’s largest city. Now, let’s look at a few smaller communities.

When we announced our plan for Medicaid expansion on Kansas Day, the CEO of Chanute’s hospital said that expansion would mean $3 million in additional funds to their bottom line. That’s a margin they currently do not have.

And just this Monday, I toured Southwest Medical Center in Liberal. And they told me that Medicaid expansion would mean an additional $820,000 in funding. That is significant for a hospital their size.

Medicaid expansion will stimulate economic growth in Kansas. It will benefit our families. And we must move forward together.