Kansas Legislature Gears Up for Medicaid Expansion Hearings: A Closer Look at the Debate Ahead

March 12, 2024

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Nearly 300 people gathered at the Capitol in Topeka last week to participate in the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas 2024 Rally for Medicaid Expansion. The rally marked a decade of public support for expanding KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program. Governor Laura Kelly, who spoke at the rally, positioned Medicaid expansion as her top priority for the session, pointing to the importance of coverage for workers and families, businesses and health providers that provide services to those who are uninsured.

The Governor also emphasized the financial benefits – the ability to draw down federal resources to cover 90 percent of the cost of the expansion population and support other populations currently covered through state general revenue. Other advocate groups on hand included the Kansas Chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics, the Kansas City Medical Society Foundation, KanCare Advocates Network, the Kansas Cancer Action Center, Kansas Interfaith Action, El Centro Inc., Thrive Allen County and more.


Important Opportunity to Share Your Perspective

After weeks of anticipation, House and Senate lawmakers have announced that hearings on Medicaid expansion will take place on Wednesday, March 20. The Senate hearing, scheduled for the morning of March 20, will be a combined effort of the Senate Ways and Means and Public Health and Welfare Committees. The House Health and Human Services Committee will hold a hearing in the afternoon.

To ensure Kansans’ voices are heard, the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas is collecting written testimony from people across the state to build the public case for expansion. Written testimonies can describe a personal experience, a statement of support, or a perspective on how providing coverage to Kansans would benefit employees, families and communities.

For nearly a decade, Medicaid expansion has been a key policy priority of the REACH Foundation. REACH has supported consumer polling, impact analyses of Medicaid expansion, and examinations of other states’ experiences.

Brenda Sharpe, REACH President and CEO, said it has been difficult to watch Kansas sit out while other states – including all states surrounding Kansas – have seized the federal opportunity to invest in the health of its residents and the state’s healthcare systems.

“There is a substantial base of research, and growing public and private sector support for expanding Medicaid to ensure workers and communities thrive. We’ve seen examples from multiple states that have expanded Medicaid, and can say that it is long past time for Kansas to take action,” said Sharpe.

“Expansion of Medicaid is critically important to people throughout the state, but especially in rural areas where there’s a shortage of health providers and hospitals are experiencing a financial strain. As we’ve seen recently, when hospitals close, people have to scramble for healthcare options – often compelling residents to find ways to get to other cities for medical care. These challenges present a cost to families, health centers and the communities in which they live.”



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