The Kansas Hospital Association (KHA) has coordinated the introduction of a plan titled “The Bridge to a Healthy Kansas” which is a Medicaid expansion bill. Senate Bill 371 is very similar to a plan that passed in Indiana and has been implemented in that state. SB 371 would provide coverage to approximately 150,000 low income adults by making them eligible for KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. The bill requires individuals earning above the federal poverty level to make monthly payments into personal health care accounts and terminates coverage for those who fall behind in their payments.
The Kansas Hospital Association estimates that this expansion of KanCare will cost $55 million annually. The Kansas Hospital Association projects that the savings and revenue-raising measures in SB 371 would generate an estimated $183 million in 2017, $217 million in 2018 and increase to $240 million in 2020. Revenues would come from the premiums from beneficiaries, drug rebates and KanCare managed care organizations’ privilege taxes.
Savings would come from reduced state funding for mental health programs ($69 million), prisoner inpatient health care, elimination of state funding of MediKan and enhanced federal dollars for the disabled, medically needy spenddown populations and some pregnant women.
Even though the Kansas Hospital Association has developed a bill that in fact increases revenue, it is uncertain whether leaders in the Senate or the House will allow a debate on Medicaid expansion to occur. Governor Brownback expressed in his State of the State address that Obamacare had caused problems to the health care system and should not be expanded. Almost every hospital in the State of Kansas has endorsed the need to expand Medicaid. Additionally, a vast number of local Chambers’ of Commerce have endorsed the need to expand Medicaid. The Atchison Hospital, as well as every hospital in Northeast Kansas, has endorsed the plan and have expressed a great need for the additional revenue.