ICYMI: Governor Kelly: Expanding Medicaid Saves Lives and Future of Rural Kansas Hospitals

KEY QUOTE: “One of the most immediate things that we could do that would make a very significant difference, would be to go ahead and expand Medicaid. We are now one of only 10 states in the country that has not expanded Medicaid. Every state around us has expanded Medicaid,” said Governor Kelly.

More than 50% of rural hospitals at-risk of closing, Kansas governor says there’s a simple solution
Hailey Tucker, KWCH
August 3, 2023

  • It’s an issue impacting many towns and cities across the state. FactFinder first reported data showing more than half of Kansas’ rural hospitals are currently at risk of closing.
  • Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said the issue is now at a crisis level. “It’s frightening, that’s a frightening number. Because 50% of those hospitals are providing services, critical services for people within their catchment area. And those are, generally, very rural counties with long distances in between. If that hospital were to close, those folks don’t really have a viable alternative.”
  • Expanding Medicaid would raise the cutoff for income requirements which would allow more people to use it. Gov. Kelly said if it were to expand, about 150,000 more Kansans would be eligible.
  • “On our current trajectory for all of Kansas and rural healthcare is pretty bleak. I mean, we have a lot of facilities that are currently at-risk of closing. We’ve seen a number of them close over the last five, six years. We expect there to be more,” said Brian Barta, CEO of William Newton Hospital in Winfield. “We think that there are plenty of opportunities for us to find solutions to it but what that takes is everyone coming together and coming to a reasonable conclusion to those pending questions.” 
  • What do the people of Kansas want? Fort Hays State surveyed more than 500 Kansans in it’s Fall 2022 Kansas Speaks survey. In it, it found nearly 75% of voters said expanding Medicaid would help rural hospitals and about 72% said they support expanding Medicaid.