Gov. Laura Kelly: Expanding Medicaid will be top priority in upcoming session

By Gov. Laura Kelly | Oct. 19, 2019

In the coming weeks, Kansas lawmakers will begin a renewed conversation about expanding Medicaid coverage in Kansas.

I have been clear that Medicaid expansion will be my No. 1 priority in 2020. If we take the right approach, expansion will provide access to health care for roughly 150,000 Kansans, strengthen rural hospitals, create thousands of jobs and expand access to affordable prescription drugs and mental-health care for Kansans who desperately need them.

But, in order for Medicaid expansion to fulfill its promise, Kansas must heed the lessons of the 36 other states that have already taken action. Lawmakers must unite around a central goal of creating a simple, effective and sustainable plan for Kansas.

The devil is in the details. Some ideas may sound good on paper but, in practice, only increase bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary government spending. Thankfully, we have years of data from other states to show us what works and what does not.

Simply expanding the Medicaid-eligible population to include adults who make up to $16,753 per year is the best path forward. States that have tried otherwise have repeatedly faced immense administrative, financial and legal headaches.

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