Urge support of Medicaid expansion

 Local hospital officials are saying that expanding Medicaid within the state is vital to our local economy.

The passaqge of House Bill 2319  is important to rural and urban hospitals. It requires the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to develop a federal Medicaid waiver for a budget neutral managed care program known as KanCare 2.0.

KanCare 2.0, officials say, would provide access to health care coverage options for newly eligible individuals while employing personal responsibility through cost sharing and rewarding healthy outcomes and responsible health choices.

Electing to forgo the federal funding to expand the KanCare program and not capturing the dollars currently leaving our state will unquestionably have a negative impact on our local hospital, the patients it serves and the local community overall, officials say.

Holton Community Hospital recently received the estimated annual average impact of Medicaid Expansion directly to the hospital by both KHDE and Kansas Hospital Association (KHA).

While both agencies used different methodology in calculating these estimates, both separate agencies determined the impact was more than $300,000 in reimbursement for services provided that Holton Community Hospital would not receive without this expansion.

States expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are realizing savings and revenue gains, according to a study by Manatt Health Solutions released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The authors say the findings suggest that every expansion state should expect to reduce state spending on programs for the uninsured; see savings related to previously eligible Medicaid beneficiaries now eligible for the new adult group under expansion; and see revenue gains related to existing insurer and provider taxes.

The Kansas Hospital Association has lobbied for Medicaid expansion over the last two years but has been unable to convince Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican-controlled Legislature to take up the issue. Legilative leaders have actively blocked consideration of expansion bills.

Brownback and other opponents of Medicaid expansion have said they are convinced the federal government can’t be trusted to follow through on a promise to pay 100 percent of the expansion costs through 2015 and not less than 90 percent thereafter. Only once, however, (in 1981) has the federal government ever reduced the amount of money sent to states to cover its share of the program’s overall cost.

Contact our sate legislators. Ask them to support the hospital by supporting Medicaid expansion in Kansas.

David Powls

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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