Major Health Foundations of Kansas Urge Legislators, Governor to Expand KanCare

News Release

Foundation CEOs point to new research that finds KanCare expansion would generate state budget savings and revenue gains while insuring 150,000 Kansans

TOPEKA — Leaders of the state’s six major health foundations today sent a letter to Kansas legislators and the governor urging them to give KanCare expansion “serious consideration and an open debate,” pointing to new research that shows potential savings for the Kansas budget.

“The potential benefit to the state budget alone indicates that legislators can no longer afford to simply say ‘no’ to KanCare expansion. We call upon legislators to give KanCare expansion serious consideration and an open debate, allowing diverse opinions a chance to be heard in committee and on the chamber floors,” reads the letter signed by the six foundations, which comprise the Kansas Grantmakers in Health (KGIH).

The letter cited a new analysis by Manatt Health Solutions commissioned for KGIH that found with KanCare expansion and the favorable federal funding match offered, Kansas could expect to save much of what it currently spends for providing critical services to the uninsured, including up to:

  • $75.3 million that Kansas spends annually for mental and behavioral health care.
  • $28.9 million that Kansas spends each year to reimburse hospitals and clinics for the uncompensated care they provide.
  • $9.3 million that Kansas spends annually for medical services to prison inmates.
  • $4.1 million that Kansas spends each year for the MediKan program.

The analysis concluded: “It appears that Kansas should be able to generate sufficient savings and revenue gains to cover the costs of expansion between 2016 and 2020 – in other words, expansion should be budget neutral. In fact, expansion may generate savings and new revenue in excess of the costs of expansion during this period.”

The letter from the foundations said the potential benefit to the state budget alone merited serious consideration of KanCare expansion. “Kansas’ severe and growing budget crisis recently prompted legislators to pay a consultant $2.6 million in hopes of finding more savings and efficiencies. Yet for two years, Kansas has ignored a policy decision that could be saving the state millions of dollars right now, while providing more than 150,000 uninsured Kansans health coverage: KanCare expansion,” the letter continues. “Many of the states that have embraced expansion are led by Republican governors and conservative legislatures. If they can find state-based solutions, so can Kansas.”

The full text of the letter from the foundations is attached.

The Kansas Grantmakers in Health is comprised of: Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Kansas Health Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation, Sunflower Foundation, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, and Wyandotte Health Foundation. More information on each is attached.