Former state Sen. Steve Abrams’s recent column on Medicaid expansion is misleading and gets many of the core tenants of the policy wrong. Medicaid expansion is critically needed in Kansas. From improving health to creating jobs, this policy will have many benefits for our state.
Right now, there are around 150,000 people in Kansas who fall into the health insurance “coverage gap.” This means they don’t qualify for Medicaid as it is currently configured but they don’t make enough income to get discounts on insurance plans purchased through the federal exchange.
Sen. Abrams stated that anyone currently uninsured could simply get a job and get insurance. Try telling that to the thousands of Kansans in the coverage gap who are already employed in jobs like retail, farming and personal care. Jobs like these don’t always offer a steady 40 hours a week, which makes it challenging to access and afford health insurance. This is exactly why Medicaid expansion makes sense for Kansas families.
In addition to giving more Kansans access to affordable health insurance, Medicaid expansion will also inject millions of dollars into our hospitals and local economies. The federal government foots 90 percent of the bill, and much of the state’s 10 percent portion will be covered by the savings we reap. Sen. Abrams neglects to consider these net gains.
It is entirely past time to expand Medicaid in Kansas. I urge our local lawmakers to support Medicaid expansion in the 2020 Legislative Session.