This week, the Kansas Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee held hearings on HB 2044, the Medicaid Expansion legislation that previously passed the House of Representatives. HB 2044 is expected to be voted out of committee soon and placed on General Orders in the Senate. HB 2044 represents an expansion of ObamaCare in Kansas, and the Kansas Truth Caucus opposes this legislation for the following reasons:
Medicaid Expansion Expands the Welfare State
Expanding Medicaid in Kansas to able-bodied adults is an expansion of the welfare state, without any work requirements. HB 2044 will result in the removal of able-bodied adults from private health insurance plans and placing them on a government welfare program.
It Undermines the True Intent of Medicaid
Medicaid is intended to serve Kansans who truly need assistance: the disabled, the elderly, children and pregnant women. There are currently over 4,300 Kansans with disabilities on waiting lists for Medicaid services. To put those who are most needy at the back of the line behind able-bodied adults is unconscionable.
ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion Provisions are About to be Repealed
HB 2044 is being pushed just as Congress is currently debating a repeal of ObamaCare, including Medicaid Expansion provisions. Expanding Medicaid now and causing the state to become dependent upon on federal dollars that are likely to be cut by the new Trump administration, is not only unwise, but downright irresponsible.
Expanding Medicaid Increases the Federal Debt
There is no special pot of money, where other states would receive more money if Kansas did not expand Medicaid. The funds to expand Medicaid for each state increases the national debt.
Medicaid Expansion is a Budget Buster
Medicaid Expansion would unquestionably add a significant burden to the state budget. The cost of Medicaid expansion, if Congress follows through with their promise to repeal, would be an unsustainable $465 million per year for Kansas taxpayers. Because other states have expenses that have run an average of 110% higher than expected, the fiscal effect producing a burden on Kansas taxpayers cannot be understated. It would divert hundreds of millions of dollars from not only Medicaid funding for the disabled and the elderly, but also from education, infrastructure, and public safety funding. Even without Medicaid Expansion, those promoting HB 2044 want to increase taxes to pay for Kansas programs – imagine the taxes that will be required if Medicaid Expansion becomes reality.
The Claims Don’t Match the Reality
Proponents of Medicaid Expansion try to soften fears by claiming that HB 2044 represents a panacea that will save rural hospitals, create new jobs, and improve healthcare while somehow simultaneously not representing a massive new burden on the Kansas budget. Each of these claims have been refuted by the experience in other states, meaning that HB 2044 amounts to a massive money grab by some and an ideological attempt to expand government by others. If you hear of rural hospitals or other hospitals struggling financially, it is because of specific policies enacted in Obamacare – not Medicaid expansion. (Reduction of Medicare funds and Disproportionate Share Hospital payments.)
GRASSROOTS ACTION REQUESTED
You may find a list of Senators and their contact information by visiting the Senate Roster page at kslegislature.org.
You may find a list of Senators and their contact information by visiting kslegislature.org.