Kansas governor's 'middle of the road' Medicaid expansion proposal

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has tried unsuccessfully for years to expand Medicaid in the state and now has a new "middle of the road" plan that includes work requirements, NPR affiliate KCUR reported Dec. 18. 

Under Ms. Kelly's plan, people would have to prove they are employed in order to sign up for services and renew them each year, according to the report. The state's health secretary would develop exceptions to allow enrollments for full-time students, caretakers, veterans and those with medical conditions.

Her proposal, which will be introduced in the forthcoming legislative session, would allow those who earn between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty level to remain on private insurance and receive assistance from the state, or move to Medicaid, according to the report. 

The plan is revenue-neutral, and the state's cost of expanded services would be offset by federal funding, drug rebates and fees assessed to hospitals that provide Medicaid services, according to the report. The program would be discontinued if the federal government ever reduces funding below the current 90% level of costs. Abortions would only be covered in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life. 

"We have taken every effort to put together a proposal that addresses every concern Republican leadership has brought up, to meet in the middle of the road," Ms. Kelly said, according to the report. "I truly hope that the legislative leadership will not stand in the way of doing what's right for Kansas and what everyday Kansans overwhelmingly say they want — which is for Medicaid to be expanded across the state." 

An estimated 150,000 Kansans would gain access to medical care under expanded Medicaid, according to the report. 

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