Governor’s Task Force Votes to Recommend KanCare Expansion

Move would allow thousands of Kansans with substance use disorders, mental health issues access to health care

TOPEKA – At its final meeting before submitting a report to the governor, the Governor’s Task Force to Address Substance Use Disorders voted to include expansion of KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program, as a vital tool in the fight against addictions.

The Task Force has been working since March to develop a set of recommendations to address the epidemic of substance use disorders, particularly addiction to opioids, heroin and methamphetamine in Kansas. It will deliver its final report to Governor Colyer on September 1.

“Medicaid expansion is an important evidence-based approach to address substance use disorders. It has proven instrumental in other states, some of which are among those hardest hit by the opioid epidemic,” said April Holman, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas.

“Members of the Task Force should be commended for taking a bold – and realistic – approach to their work, recognizing that KanCare expansion allows thousands of Kansans to access services they need to reach their highest level of health.”

KanCare expansion would extend health coverage to 150,000 Kansans, nearly one-third of whom have experienced substance use disorders or mental health issues in the past year. The federal government covers at least 90 percent of the costs of expansion.

Kansas is one of only 17 states that have not yet expanded their Medicaid programs, leaving tens of thousands of Kansans uninsured and forfeiting the return to the state of billions of Kansans’ federal tax dollars.