Dec 18, 2023

🎥 Hays City Commission passes resolution supporting Medicaid expansion in Kansas

Posted Dec 18, 2023 11:01 AM
Hays city commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Thursday declaring support for Medicaid  KanCare expansion in Kansas. Photo and video by Becky Kiser/Hays Post
Hays city commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Thursday declaring support for Medicaid  KanCare expansion in Kansas. Photo and video by Becky Kiser/Hays Post

Hays Post

The Hays City Commission unanimously passed a resolution Thursday declaring support for Medicaid expansion in Kansas. 

The move coincidentally occurred the same day that Gov. Laura Kelly unveiled the "Cutting Healthcare Costs for All Kansans Act" to expand Medicaid at no additional cost to state taxpayers.

The federal government pays for 90 percent of the costs to expand Medicaid, while states pay 10 percent.

Under Kelly's proposal, the state’s 10 percent share is completely covered by drug rebates, a hospital fee, savings from higher reimbursement rates for existing Medicaid recipients, and additional federal funding, the governor said in a news release.

Background information about the proposed "Cutting Healthcare Costs for All Kansans Act" is available here.   

The Hays resolution was submitted to the city by the governor's office and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

It contained specific figures on how an expansion of Medicaid, known as KanCare in Kansas, would positively affect Hays, including health care for an additional 666 Ellis County residents.

"The hospital here [HaysMed] is losing $5 million a year," said Reese Barrick, commissioner. "We have a really great hospital. But even it is struggling, so think of the smaller hospitals around western Kansas that could be closing down."

In a session he attended several weeks ago, Grow Hays Executive Director Doug Williams learned of the 80 rural hospitals in Kansas, more than 40 percent are under significant financial stress. 

Other medical providers in Hays are also affected by the lack of expansion.

"I've been made aware Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas would be affected," said Sandy Jacobs, vice-mayor. The agency gets some Medicaid reimbursement for its clients.

Commissioner Mason Ruder said the statistics provided were eye-opening.

It's estimated KanCare expansion would result in $5.7 million in annual health care spending in Hays and create 222 new jobs.

"That's a lot of revenue for our city," said Mayor Shaun Musil. "If this helps, I'm for it."

"People are in that situation where they work but they don't make enough money to afford health insurance. Unfortunately, the burden of that falls on health care providers," Williams said Friday in a KAYS radio interview. "When somebody comes to the emergency room at Hays Medical Center, they're going to be treated but Hays Medical Center is not necessarily going to be paid."

 Gov. Kelly's proposal contends insured individuals are more likely to get the physical and mental health care they need to join the workforce, care for their families and be productive residents. 

"We have an economic opportunity and most of the studies will show you the revenue portion to the state ends up revenue-positive," Williams said.

"Most of the benefits economically of people being covered, people being able to work and therefore pay taxes, and on and on and on, outweigh what the cost to the state might be."

Williams said health care is a significant part of the Ellis County economy. 

"The numbers are overwhelming," he said. "They're particularly overwhelming in Ellis County for how important this would be economically."

Kansas is one of 10 states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.