Medicaid expansion comes at no additional cost to taxpayers
So much of the problem boils down to one thing: far too many Kansans don't have health insurance. Last month, I proposed the Cutting Healthcare Costs for All Kansans Act. For those of you worried that Medicaid Expansion will
allow "able-bodied adults" to scam the system--the bill includes a work requirement with commonsense exemptions. For those concerned about cost, it's revenue-neutral. It comes at no additional cost to taxpayers. That's a deal just about anyone would take.
Source: 2024 State of the State Address to Kansas legislature
, Jan 10, 2024
Expand Medicaid; guarantee mental health care
We cannot talk about rural Kansas without talking about Medicaid Expansion. To date, we have left $6 billion dollars in Washington, D.C.--squandering our own taxpayer dollars. And we have forfeited 23,000 jobs for Kansans. There is an obvious way to
stop the bleeding: Expand Medicaid. By far the most impactful thing we could do for our small towns would be to draw down the billions of dollars--once again, our own hard-earned tax dollars--that are just sitting there.
We need to pass legislation to guarantee mental health care for our first responders. Right now, our police officers, our firefighters, our EMTs and paramedics are not eligible for workers compensation for
PTSD--even if they experienced the traumatic event on the job. That is unacceptable. We say we value our first responders. Let's put our money where our mouth is and protect them just like they protect us.
Medicaid expansion is something we can do right now
For years, we've debated Medicaid expansion. The fact is, communities can't grow or survive if their hospitals close. Medicaid expansion won't just protect small towns and their residents, it will keep health care professionals from moving to
neighboring states--most of which are Red states--all of which have expanded Medicaid. Right now, we're the stubborn, self-defeating, state in the middle of all of them. Medicaid expansion is something we can do right now. Let's get this done.
Source: 2022 State of the State Address to the Kansas legislature
, Jan 11, 2022
Ban gatherings over 10, including church, for coronavirus
A Republican-controlled panel voted to overturn an executive order limiting attendance at church gatherings and funerals in an efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.
Kelly announced she was removing exemptions for churches and funerals from a
statewide order that limits gatherings of more than 10 individuals. The Legislative Coordinating Council then voted 5-2 along party lines to rescind the governor's order. The action invited confusion about whether there is no longer a statewide ban on
any kind of large public gathering.
"[This] confusing and overtly political attack [was a] a shockingly irresponsible decision that will put every Kansas life at risk," Kelly said. Governors in 44 states have imposed similar restrictions on church
attendance. But Republicans complained that Kelly had overstepped her authority by restricting religious gatherings. "It appears to be out of line, extreme and clearly a blatant violation of our fundamental rights," said Senate president Susan Wagle.
This must be the year Kansas becomes the 37th state to expand Medicaid. After weeks of tough negotiations and lots of give and take, we developed a
proposal that will not only expand healthcare to 150,000 Kansans, but also has the potential to lower health insurance premiums in the marketplace.
Source: 2020 Kansas State of the State address
, Jan 16, 2020
Cover an additional 150,000 Kansans by expanding Medicaid
State Senate President Susan Wagle's meeting with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) offers some insight into her ideological positioning in the fight with Kelly over Medicaid expansion. NFIB was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit
against the Affordable Care Act--former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was the defendant as HHS secretary--that resulted in a 2012 Supreme Court decision that found the federal government lacked the power to require states to expand Medicaid.
The ruling left
the discretion to expand up Medicaid up to states. The Kansas Legislature passed a law in 2014 to require the governor to obtain legislative approval before expanding. Kelly, who was recruited into the race for governor by Sebelius, has made it her
mission to expand the program to cover an additional 150,000 Kansans after watching 36 other states and the District of Columbia expand Medicaid during the past seven years.
Wagle is firmly set against it because of concerns about the long-term costs.
Expand Medicaid, without further study or compromises
As Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly urges lawmakers to expand Medicaid, the state Senate's top Republican is opening the door to a health care bill that would include provisions favored by conservatives, such as work requirements. But Senate President
Susan Wagle wants the Legislature to study expansion later this year and take up a bill in 2020. Kelly, who has made expansion her signature issue, said in the expansion debate the term "study" has come to mean "stall."
If Kansas increases eligibility in the program, which provides health coverage to low-income individuals and individuals with disabilities, to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, then the federal government will pay for
90 percent of the cost. For a family of four, that's $35,535 a year. The state's share of the cost of expansion has been estimated at somewhere between $34 million and $47 million a year.
KanCare-based Medicaid expansion to save rural hospitals
According to some reports, 30% of our state's hospitals are considered financially vulnerable. Just by expanding KanCare--the state's Medicaid program--we can help keep these important facilities stay open and provide affordable health care to
150,000 more Kansans--no matter where they live. To date, our failure to act has cost Kansas over $3 billion in federal funding. By Kansas Day, there will be a plan to expand Medicaid put before the Kansas Legislature.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to Kansas legislature
, Jan 16, 2019
Expand Medicaid for more coverage and jobs
More than 150,000 Kansans have been left without healthcare coverage due to Brownback and Colyer's failure to expand Medicaid. Not only that, hospitals and clinics across the state are at risk of closing. Laura Kelly has consistently supported expanding
Medicaid to provide health coverage to more Kansas families. She also knows that expanding Medicaid will provide significant impact on our state's economy and create thousands of jobs in the process.
Source: 2018 Gubernatorial campaign website LauraKellyForKansas.com
, Aug 14, 2018
Insurers to provide real-time information of benefits
Legislative Summary: HB 2668: The bill states the people of Kansas all benefit if health plans were required to provide real-time Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) on request when a physician submits an electronic claim predetermination
Supporting statement in Missouri Medicine: High deductible plans and high co-insurance plans now dominate both the private sector plans and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchange plans.Knowing the out of pocket costs of
non-emergency health care services is part of the informed decision process between a physician and patient. Patients need to know the financial obligation they will incur as well as being able to have time and ability to satisfy it. Knowing what out of
pocket expenses will be due is important in the rapidly changing health care environment.
Legislative Outcome: Passed Senate 38-2-0 on 4/2/14; State Sen. Kelly voted YES; Passed House 97-27-1 on 5/2; Signed by Gov. Brownback on 5/12