Medicaid expansion

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Two of the four Kansas lawmakers recently relieved of their health committee assignments are pushing back. They say their removal won’t stop the debate on Medicaid expansion. 

Republican House Speaker Ray Merrick ousted Reps. Don Hill of Emporia and Susan Concannon of Beloit from the Health and Human Services Committee because they supported Medicaid expansion.

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

The Wichita Chamber has added Medicaid expansion to its list of legislative priorities. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, there are conditions attached to that support.

The board of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce has voted to support expanding Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program--known as KanCare--so that it covers more poor adults.

But that support is conditioned on two things:

Stephen Koranda

Republican Speaker Ray Merrick has removed three Kansas lawmakers who support Medicaid expansion from the House Health and Human Services Committee.

A new report says Medicaid and other services will cost Kansas about $47 million more than expected during the next two budget years.

The new estimates Thursday complicate the budget picture for Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and the GOP-dominated Legislature. The report was issued by legislative researchers and Brownback's budget staff.

Susie Fagan / KHI News

For the past three years supporters of expanding Medicaid to cover more poor Kansans have gotten nowhere in the Legislature, but they’re hoping to change that in the upcoming session by getting Kansas lawmakers to look at expansion plans crafted in other so-called red states.

Indiana’s plan was the focus at a forum held here in Wichita on Tuesday that attracted an overflow crowd, including Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean.

Mercy Hospital Independence

The closure of a hospital in southeast Kansas has sparked a new debate over Medicaid expansion. Supporters say federal expansion could have helped save Mercy Hospital in Independence. But expansion opponents, including Governor Sam Brownback, say that isn’t true. Even so, as Heartland Health Monitor's Jim McLean reports, the hospital’s closure has made it harder for expansion opponents to ignore the issue.

Mercy Hospital Independence

An aide for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income, but able-bodied adults would be “morally reprehensible.” As Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, the comments are the latest in a growing war of words over the contentious issue.

Below is the full story from KHI News:  

The Medicaid expansion debate in Kansas is heating up.

Big time.

Via Christi

The CEO of Kansas’ largest health care system is renewing his call for Medicaid expansion.

Jeff Korsmo runs the Via Christi health system. It operates hospitals in Wichita, Manhattan, Pittsburg and Wamego.

Korsmo says the health care system is initiating cost-cutting measures because its revenues are running behind projections two months into the budget year.

The number of people without health insurance is going down in both Kansas and Missouri, but not as fast as in many other states. One of the main reasons is that neither state expanded its Medicaid program.

Robert St. Peter, president of the nonprofit think tank the Kansas Health Institute, says new data from the U.S. Census Bureau show a clear distinction between those states that expanded Medicaid and those that didn’t.

Some state lawmakers are considering allowing some form of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act amid the looming closure of a hospital in southeast Kansas.

Mercy Hospital in Independence announced last week that it was closing its doors on Oct. 10, partly due to declining reimbursement rates from Medicare.

Senate Vice President Jeff King said Tuesday that Kansas should consider a state-centric approach to addressing poor residents' health care needs.