Governor Laura Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning held two public events in Wichita today to discuss their bipartisan compromise to expand the state’s Medicaid program, KanCare.

“Medicaid expansion would make healthcare accessible to 150,000 more Kansans,” Kelly said. “It is imperative we get this done. We cannot delay expansion any longer.”

The compromise (Senate Bill 252), was introduced in January of this year and would provide healthcare to 150,000 working Kansans, has stalled in the legislature despite being favored by the majority of legislators.

“We should not be playing political games when lives are on the line. We have a moral obligation to make sure Kansans are receiving access to affordable healthcare,” Kelly said.

In addition to expansion, the compromise also includes a reinsurance program and authorizes an IMD Exclusion Wavier.

“Not only does the compromise expand access to healthcare to those without insurance, it is also designed to lower the cost of private insurance and expand mental health services across the state,” Denning said. 

Kelly and Denning first met with healthcare leaders from across the Southcentral region of Kansas, who discussed the positive impact expansion would have on their communities during a roundtable hosted by Ascension Via Christi, a Catholic healthcare organization based in Wichita.

Medicaid expansion will provide needed support to some of the state’s most vulnerable people, potentially making the difference between debilitating illness and a healthy future,” said Kevin Strecker, Hospital President and Chief Operating Officer of Ascension Via Christi, a Catholic healthcare organization.  

While meeting with leaders from various faith communities across the state, Governor Kelly highlighted the broad and diverse support for expansion. “Access to health care is a moral issue,” Kelly said. “Just last week, over 75 Catholic nuns from across the state sent a letter to Legislature calling for KanCare expansion.”

The letter, penned by the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, called expanding KanCare “a life saving measure,” and said, “it is deeply immoral for anyone in our country to go without medical care.”

The Legislature reconvenes on Wednesday, March 4th for the remainder of the 2020 regular legislative session.