Republicans in the Kansas Legislature are doing all Kansans a disservice by rejecting Medicaid expansion

Topeka Capital Journal 

May 27, 2021

Key quotes:

  • So, why this reluctance to engage, especially on an issue of immense fiscal and health importance to Kansans? My hunch is that GOP lawmakers have no serious policy response because they have no policy, just a reflexive “no” to expansion, especially when backed by a Democrat governor.
  • This is truly incredible in that by expanding Medicaid Kansas would: 
  • (1) Have brought $4-5 billion into state coffers over the past decade.
  • (2) Provide for a 90% federal-fund contribution of state costs, with total reimbursement over the next two years.
  • (3) Provide 130,000-150,000 Kansans with basic medical coverage.
  • (4) Increase revenues at all Kansas hospitals and especially help those in rural areas, which are mostly represented by Republican legislators.
  • (5) Allow Kansas to recapture hundreds of millions of dollars in federal tax dollars that currently subsidize health care in the 36 states that have implemented expansion. At present, Kansas gets nothing in return for the Medicaid tax dollars we send to Washington and are in turn distributed to those 36 states, including California and New York.
  • (6) Reflect the overwhelming preferences of Kansans, with 70% of residents and more than 60% of Republicans supporting expansion.
  • In the end, as with their desire to kill the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have no health policy, just knee-jerk opposition to Democrat proposals, either state or federal.
  • So mum’s the word, as Republican lawmakers talk about trans women playing sports, restrictions on voting and revoking mask mandates, all the while ignoring the fiscal and health implications of their actions and bypassing the preferences of the very voters they claim to represent.

Shank: Kansas one of only 12 states to decline Medicaid Expansion

The Hutchinson News

April 21, 2021

Key quotes:

  • This week the Kansas Hospital Association website ticker reports Kansas has, to date, declined nearly $5 billion in federal funds during the past seven years through Medicaid expansion.
  • Thirty-eight states, including our neighboring states of Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado, along with the District of Columbia, participate in Medicaid expansion with results exceeding expectations.
  • Yet Kansas refuses to expand Medicaid, even with the estimated $450 million in enhanced federal matching dollars our existing Medicaid program would receive over two years under the American Rescue Plan Act if we expanded Medicaid tomorrow.
  • Closer to home, people often ask what Medicaid expansion will do for Reno County and Hutchinson? The benefits will be significant. The Kansas Hospital Association (KHA) in 2020 said approximately 150,000 Kansans, including 1,500 Reno County residents, will gain access to health insurance coverage as a result of Medicaid expansion.
  • During the last fiscal year, Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System provided more than $20 million in uncompensated care. Medicaid expansion will reduce that figure by as much as one-third, which will provide additional resources to assist in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and support the addition of specialty clinics so badly needed in our community.