ICARE - 2019 Legislative Session Wrap Up

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Fri, April 26, 2019 -- Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System

Wednesday, May 1 marks the start of the wrap up of the 2019 legislative session and Medicaid expansion is among the topics that will be considered. It is expected that the legislature will meet for 7-10 days before adjourning until 2020. 

The Kansas House of Representatives passed Medicaid expansion (House Bill 2066) in March by a wide margin and sent the legislation to the Kansas Senate for consideration. To date, senate leadership has declined to consider the house approved measure.

The Kansas Hospital Association (KHA), the advocacy arm for hospitals, strongly supports the measure and will be urging for its passage next week.

Provisions in the legislation include:

  • A provision to end the program if federal funding drops below 90 percent.
  • A directive that if the program savings and revenues generated do not cover the cost of expansion, health care providers will come up with a non-state general fund solution for the program.

According to our calculations, Medicaid expansion will reduce the amount of uncompensated care at Hutch Regional by as much as one-third. Also, Medicaid expansion will be a major step forward to address the state’s behavioral health crisis. Nearly 40 percent of clients seen by Community Mental Health Centers are uninsured.

Additional studies designed to delay a vote on Medicaid expansion will stall receipt of these badly needed federal funds that are set aside to assist the working poor obtain health insurance in Kansas.

Should you have contact with a member of the Reno County legislative delegation, please feel free to let them know of the importance of this issue to our community. Even though the major debate may occur in the Kansas Senate, we suggest you make your thoughts known to legislators serving in both houses of the Kansas legislature.

Below is a list of Reno County legislators along with their email addresses.

  • Senator Ed Berger (Ed.Berger@senate.ks.gov)
  • Representative Jason Probst (Jason.Probst@house.ks.gov)
  • Representative Joe Seiwert (joe.seiwert@house.ks.gov)
  • Representative Jack Thimesch (jack.thimesch@house.ks.gov)
  • Representative Paul Waggoner (paul.waggoner@house.ks.gov)  

During the past six years, Kansas has missed out on more than $3 billion in federal funds that were set aside to benefit our state. Thirty seven states and the District of Columbia are participating in the program. Passage of Medicaid expansion will benefit health care providers large and small throughout Kansas and is expected to benefit Hutch Regional more than $4.5 million annually and create an additional economic benefit to Reno County of almost $1.8 million.