Kansas hospital group renews push for Medicaid expansion

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas hospital group has gathered state lawmakers, health care officials and business leaders in an effort to widen support for Medicaid expansion before the start of the 2016 legislative session.

The Wichita Eagle reports that presentations at the Tuesday forum hosted by the Kansas Hospital Association had highlighted possible savings such an expansion to the KanCare Medicaid program might generate.

According to a student from Manatt Health solutions, the savings could equal $218 million in 2017. Former state Senate president Dave Kerr said even with a 50 percent margin of error, the state general fund still profits.

But even with the revenue estimate, some legislators remain dubious of the costs associated with an expansion.

“(There’s) lots of holes in the projections, and we’ve had our shares of misprojections in the past four years,” said state Sen. Jim Denning.

Private-sector support for expansion has grown in the past six months. Hospitals around the state have attributed revenue declines, in large part, to donated care for uninsured patients.

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce added Medicaid expansion to its list of policy priorities for 2016 because of its potential to lower business costs.

But while attending legislators remained open to discussion of the issue this session, some say the power to “move the needle on the issue” lies higher up in the administration.

“I don’t believe that any of us – even if we wanted to push it – that we could move that needle unless we had a leadership position that could move this forward,” said state Rep. Mark Hutton.

Kerr, along with many other panelists at the forum, said the expansion’s tie to the Affordable Care Act is the efforts’ primary obstacle.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid; Kansas has not.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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