Kansas policymakers have decided not to expand the state's Medicaid program, or to create a Kansas-specific exchange for consumers to buy individual health insurance policies. But the Affordable Care Act is coming and it's bringing some changes to the Medicaid program, whether the state's political leaders want to cooperate or not.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says gaps in mental health care could be addressed if every state-including Kansas-would expand Medicaid as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act.
Rick Cagan, who heads NAMI Kansas, says the state’s system of community mental health centers is supposed to provide help for Kansans with mental illness, regardless of their ability to pay. But budget cuts have left public mental health providers unable to meet the needs…
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced $150 million in new grant money for federally-funded community health centers around the country.
The grants--at least $55,000 each--are through the Affordable Care Act and only available to safety net clinics that are already federally funded. More than $1.7 million has been set aside for 16 community health centers in Kansas.
Sebelius says they'll use the money to help uninsured patients determine their eligibility and compare coverage options.
Starting next year, states will be able to take part in a sweeping expansion of the health care program Medicaid, and the federal government will pick up most of the cost. But it's still not clear if that expansion will take place in Kansas, where the state's Medicaid program is known as KanCare.
As Lawmakers and Gov. Sam Brownback consider the expansion, some Kansans are trying to make their voices heard.
Supporters of expanding Medicaid delivered nearly 3,000 signatures to Gov. Sam Brownback's office Wednesday, asking him to support an expansion of the state's Medicaid program.
Anna Lambertson is with a coalition of organizations pushing for Medicaid expansion. She spoke during a rally at the Statehouse.
“We could bring more health care related jobs to Kansas, and improve the health of our workforce," she said. "Healthy workers, as I’m sure you know already, mean a productive workforce. That’s good for our employers and for our state."
Hospitals in Kansas could lose some federal money if the state doesn't expand Medicaid services under the federal health care law. A lawmaker helping to draft the budget says the state needs to consider assisting those hospitals.
Many hospitals receive payments to help them cover the cost of medical care for the uninsured; they are known as disproportionate shared hospital payments. As the federal health care law continues, the focus will move to funding more Medicaid services, meaning the current disproportionate share funds could be reduced or completely eliminated.
The issue of Medicaid expansion is beginning to simmer at the Kansas Statehouse. Competing cost estimates and a report about the economic benefits of expansion are bringing renewed attention to the issue and the decisions facing Gov. Sam Brownback.
The issue of Medicaid expansion is heating up all over the country.
Wednesday, Florida's Rick Scott joined a growing list of Republican governors who agree to the expansion. Like Brownback, many of them are opponents of the federal health reform law.
The new online health insurance marketplace going into effect next year in Kansas as part of the Affordable Care Act will be operated by federal, not state, officials.
That is because Gov. Sam Brownback refused to have any role in implementing what he calls "Obamacare."
Last Friday was the final deadline for states to notify federal officials of their interest in creating a federal-state partnership model for the new health insurance exchange. The deadline came and went with no action by Gov. Brownback.