Topeka A Kansas Senate committee plans to vote later this week on whether to recommend a bill to expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover an additional 150,000 people. That vote would take place even as the U.S. Congress works to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which makes expansion possible.
During a hearing Monday, supporters of that bill argued that even if Congress passes the Republican-backed American Health Care Act — their plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare — Kansas and other states that so far have not expanded their Medicaid programs would still come out ahead.
“The difference in treatment between expansion and non-expansion states under the American Health Care Act is startling,” Kansas Hospital Association President and CEO Tom Bell said. “There is every reason for states to look very seriously at expanding their programs, even under the bill that’s in the (U.S.) House right now. There’s no reason to wait.”
The bill calls for the expansion to take effect Jan. 1, 2018. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment estimates if that happens, the state’s share of the cost would be $31.1 million for the last half of that fiscal year, and about $67.2 million for the full fiscal year after that.
KDHE also says there would be some additional administrative costs, as well as some offsetting revenue and other savings.
But Dave Kerr, a Hutchinson…
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