Hutch Regional hosted Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers Monday for a discussion on Medicaid expansion and rural revitalization, two issues that are intertwined and vital to our future as a healthcare provider.
The lieutenant governor is no stranger to rural America having grown up in a small farming community 30 miles west of Omaha, Nebraska and has spent nearly two decades employed in the farm credit industry. We were very impressed with his knowledge of healthcare and, in particular, the need to serve the less populated regions of Kansas.
In a 90-minute meeting with members of the Hutch Regional leadership team and board of directors, Lieutenant Governor Rogers reaffirmed his support of Medicaid expansion legislation that is being debated in this year’s legislative session.
Direct benefits of Medicaid expansion to Hutchinson and Reno County include a reduction in uncompensated care by as much as one third, 44 new jobs in our community, and the availability of health insurance to 1,600 additional Reno County residents.
The legislature is in session through April 5 followed by a three week recess, returning on approximately May 1 to finalize many issues essential to the operation of state government including the budget. Legislative pundits predict the fate of Medicaid expansion will be determined during the final days of the 2019 legislative session.
Several members of the Reno County legislative delegation are strong supporters of Medicaid expansion and others have voiced reservations. Should you know or have contact with a legislator, please free to voice your feelings to let them know how important this issue is to our business.
Late Wednesday, legislation which includes a provision for Medicaid expansion passed the House of Representatives and awaits action in the Kansas Senate. I will send additional updates on Medicaid expansion as this issue evolves.
By Ken Johnson
President and CEO
Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System