Senate Health Care Repeal Bill Would Cut Federal Funding to Kansas by $917 Million
Per Capita Cap Would Devastate State Budget in the Next Decade
Topeka, Kansas – A new report from the Alliance for a Healthy Kansans previews the devastating impact awaiting Kansans should the U.S. Senate move forward this week on a vote in favor of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Citing analysis conducted by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the report finds that Kansas would lose $917 million in federal funding between 2020 and 2026 should BCRA become law.
“The conversion of Medicaid financing into a per capita cap would cripple out state’s budget and cause particular harm to states like Kansas that did not expand Medicaid coverage under the ACA, as we’d be denied access to enhanced funding for Medicaid to expand coverage in the future,” said David Jordan, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Health Kansas. “It’s impossible for the Kansas budget to absorb cuts of this magnitude without raising taxes or significantly cutting services, especially in our state’s rural communities.”
The report highlights that the Senate bill imposes substantial cuts on Kansas that grow markedly over time. Kansas would lose close to a billion dollars in federal funding ($917 million) between 2020 and 2026 as a result of the per capita cap. The analysis also found that:
- Per capita cap cuts more than double by the end of the next decade. Kansas cuts jump from an estimated $127 million in FY 2024 to $261 million in FY 2026. The reductions will continue to grow past the 2026 window examined by CBO and this analysis.
- Offsetting federal cuts could be unsustainable for the State. To offset the cuts, Kansas would need to increase its state spending by $917 million between 2020-2026 and the year-by-year state spending obligation would grow over time.
- The per capita cap will put health care at risk for all Medicaid populations. If Kansas distributes the cuts proportionately across all eligibility groups (based on current spending), cuts from FY 2020-2026 would total $222 million for seniors, $298 million for people with disabilities, $249 million for children, and $146 million for low-income adults.
Kansas – rather than the federal government – bears the risk under a per capita cap. To date, the risk of higher-than-expected health care costs has been split between states and the federal government. In the future, however, Kansas alone would be responsible for any costs in excess of the allowable trend rates, which are themselves volatile and difficult to predict.
After reviewing the impact of the cuts outlined in the report, Tom Bell, President and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association said, “A nearly billion dollar cut to federal funding of health care over the next decade would be detrimental to the state. Hospitals, both rural and urban, would be significantly impacted by these reductions and would be faced with difficult decisions that may include reduction in services and staffing levels.”
KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program, has one of the most restrictive eligibility criteria of any program in the country and, as a result, only provides services and supports for children, seniors in nursing homes, people with disabilities, and some low-income and pregnant Kansans. These populations, the state’s most vulnerable residents, would be left behind under this proposed legislation. The ripple effects of the cuts would be felt statewide as lawmakers would likely be forced to make cuts in Medicaid services and in other areas such as transportation, education and other public assistance.
Sheldon Weisgrau, Director of the Health Reform Resource Project, which has closely tracked and analyzed the proposed legislation, said, “Any bill that causes more than a hundred thousand Kansans to lose their health coverage, raises costs for others, particularly older and lower-income Kansans, and guts Medicaid takes us backwards. Kansans have spoken out through phone calls, emails, town halls, and demonstrations to let their members of Congress know they oppose these plans. The Senate should reject this harmful legislation.”
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The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas is a growing statewide consumer-health advocacy group dedicated to working to make Kansas a healthier place to live and work. Its members include grassroots citizens, community leaders, and organizations across Kansas—among them are business leaders, doctors and hospitals, faith communities, and many more. The Alliance is dedicated to promoting policies that assure everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Learn more at: ExpandKanCare.com.
For more information, contact:
David Jordan, Executive Director
Alliance for a Health Kansas
(785) 861-7894 (office)
(508) 246-6825 (cell)
Sheldon Weisgrau, Director
Health Reform Resource Project