Just prior to the 2019 Legislature’s first adjournment on April 5, I made a motion to withdraw House Bill 2066 from the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and place it on the Senate calendar for debate when we return on May 1.
This bill establishes the KanCare bridge to a healthy Kansas program.
The Kansas House of Representatives responded to their constituents by having a vigorous debate and passing this bill on March 21, 2019. The time has come for the Kansas Senate to debate and vote on Medicaid expansion prior to final adjournment of the 2019 Session.
Senate Republican leaders, President Susan Wagle and Majority Leader Jim Denning, control the debate calendar in the Senate. However, Senate rules allow for overriding leadership if 24 of 40 members agree to withdraw a bill from committee.
Such action will allow for debate and vote on Medicaid expansion in the Kansas Senate this legislative session.
There are several reasons for having this debate:
• 36 states and the District of Columbia debated and chose to expand Medicaid.
• Kansas has forgone more than $3 billion that would’ve come to our state had we expanded Medicaid in 2014. The Kansas Hospital Association estimates for each day of delay on Medicaid expansion, the state loses slightly more than $2 million.
• Kansas Hospitals annually register more than $1 billion in uncompensated care.
• Medicaid expansion would provide improved healthcare access to 130,000 Kansans.
The Republican leadership wants to study the issue over the 2019 interim. Further study is not needed. There have been numerous legislative hearings and local and regional stakeholder meetings to explore the benefits and risks of expanding Medicaid over the past five years.
Contact your state senator urging him or her to vote for withdrawing House Bill 2066 from committee for debate and vote when the Legislature reconvenes of May 1.
This article was originally published on The Topeka Capital-Journal website, here.