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This week, HB 2675 and SB 472 were introduced in the Kansas House and Senate proposing expansion of KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program. Under the proposed legislation introduced on February 9, 2022, KanCare will be expanded to cover Kansans earning up to the full 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, 90 percent of which would be paid by the federal government, starting on January 1, 2023.
In addition, with expansion, the state would be positioned to receive an additional $370 million over the next eight fiscal quarters for the current Medicaid population. This represents a total of $68.5 million in State General Fund savings in Fiscal Year 2023 alone, which would free up resources for investments in education, housing and workforce development, according to the Governor’s press release.
The REACH Healthcare Foundation has been steadfast in our support for a bipartisan solution for years. REACH has allocated nearly $80 million since its start to support an effective health care safety net, mental health services, dental care and other initiatives. While the quality and availability of the state’s safety net services have grown, Kansas has not made progress in closing its coverage gap because of restrictive Medicaid eligibility limits.
Meanwhile, 38 states have moved forward to expand Medicaid. Furthermore, we have seen business and public support for KanCare expansion grow as people have learned more about the health and economic benefits of extending coverage.
From Brenda Sharpe, President and CEO of the REACH Foundation
“I’m grateful for state leaders who continue to press for policies such as KanCare expansion that offer a fiscally sound path toward strengthening the health and well-being of Kansas families. Rising prices for food, transportation and other basic needs make it difficult for many Kansans to afford health coverage and health care. A recent voter survey showed 8 in 10 Kansans are concerned about the costs of health care – and want a long-term solution. They also understand current income eligibility is appallingly low – less than $4 an hour for a family of three, or $8,350 a year. And new Kansas-specific economic data indicate our health care costs are outstripping those in other states, including other non-expansion states.
When people go without health insurance, they often go without care. Or, they seek delayed treatment that results in unpaid medical bills or costs that push them into debt and ultimately fall on health systems and privately insured Kansans to absorb. The effects of this are clear: Every one of us pays the price for these costs. Households, hospitals, businesses and more end up paying the price when the state doesn’t allow low-income, hard-working people to access coverage. Medicaid expansion produces savings to the state, generates additional revenue, helps protect health care services in communities that need it, and supports employment.
Kansas voters have watched and waited for eight long years as states around the country have moved forward to use available federal resources to invest in the health of their people and state and local economies. We want our lawmakers to expand Medicaid and leverage this fiscally responsible option now. If they don’t, they need to tell us why without resorting to tired anecdotes and stereotypes, and finally bring forward a solution more impactful and practical than a simple expansion — one that will keep our economy and workforce competitive with every other state that touches our borders.
Opponents have yet to identify such an answer, and it’s well past time we hold them to account.”
New Survey Shows Statewide Bi-Partisan Support for KanCare Expansion, Alliance for a Healthy Kansas