Can Kansas afford KanCare expansion?


It is true that the Kansas budget currently faces challenges stemming from dramatic changes in tax policy in 2012. For this very reason, now more than ever, Kansas cannot afford to simply say ‘no’ to KanCare expansion.

For every $9 the federal government spends on health coverage for new KanCare enrollees, Kansas will pay no more than $1. According to credible estimates, that means over 10 years expansion would generate $5.3 billion in federal funding for our state.

As for the cost to Kansas (about $53 million a year), studies have shown that KanCare expansion would pay for itself. Researchers at Manatt Health Solutions concluded that “Kansas should be able to generate sufficient savings and revenue gains to cover the costs of expansion during this time period – in other words, expansion should be budget neutral. Expansion, in fact, may generate savings and new revenue in excess of the costs of expansion.”

Furthermore, KanCare expansion would inject sorely needed money into the Kansas economy, stimulating business activity and creating jobs.

A study by George Washington University found that had we expanded KanCare in 2014, Kansas would have enjoyed $380 million in additional business activity in just one year, and another $425 million in 2015. From 2016 to 2020, that business activity is projected to be $2.186 billion. Likewise, Kansas could be creating jobs by expanding KanCare. In 2016 alone, more than 2,500 jobs would be created, found the study, “including jobs in construction, retail and wholesale, real estate, professional/technical/scientific, food and beverage, social assistance and state/local sectors.”

It’s important to not lose sight of the fact that expanding KanCare will change the lives of 150,000 Kansans by offering them needed health care coverage. However the benefits of KanCare expansion will also ripple through our state economy by the millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Kansas can’t afford to simply say ‘no’ to KanCare expansion.