Next week Kansans and the Kansas legislature finally get to voice opinions about expanding or not Kansas’ Medicaid program, in line with the original intent of the ACA. This will be watched closely nationally as Kansas is one of several states that have yet to have a hearing on this. While the Kansas legislature told the Governor two years ago that no Medicaid Expansion could pass without their approval, there really has not been any hearing or public airing of this. The bill would override that previous legislation and allow the Governor to negotiate more freely an expansion option that might further allow public hearings on the matter.
As noted in this KHI news briefing observers expect both proponents and opponents to have much to say.
The proponents include:
- provider groups (the Kansas Hospital Association and such) who will benefit from having to provide less uncompensated care
- consumer advocacy groups who believe that the ACA intended to make insurance more affordable to all, including those too poor to qualify for tax subsidies in the Marketplaces
- community organizations who argue that all in community are affected by uncompensated care in terms of costs of health care in that community, and a healthier workforce when more are insured
The opponents include:
- those who in general are against the ACA and believe its costs are not sustainable such as Americans for Prosperity
- those who believe Medicaid is a failed an unsustainable program so expanding it is not the way to go
Over half of the states have already expanded their Medicaid programs, taking advantage of federal funding assistance as offered through the ACA. Some have done this as a direct expansion of their current programs. Others have tried more private pay models, requiring copayments or even premium payments on the part of participants. Families USA explains the impacts of these Medicaid Expansion decisions in a series of useful graphics. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a detailed list of what each state has chosen to do to date. Note that states can choose to request federal assistance with expanding at any time.