Hospitals need expanded medicaid

Gary Brewer | Wichita eagle letter to the editor

October 4, 2023

Gov. Laura Kelly visited Winfield recently to advocate Medicaid expansion.

Our hospital CEO, a small business owner, and a teacher all cited the benefits of allowing hard-working Kansans in low-wage jobs to obtain medical insurance coverage.

The governor also emphasized the harm to our Kansas economy and its at-risk rural hospitals of refusing the 90% federal subsidy all our neighboring states receive. Looking at other states, there are ways the other 10% can be funded without raising taxes.

Senate Majority Leader Larry Alley (our senator) replied the problem for rural hospitals is unfair reimbursement for insured patients, not Medicaid expansion — he mentioned one hospital trustee elsewhere shared this view.

Most trustees, including me, disagree.

At the September Kansas Hospital Association convention, scores of trustees and CEOs told me their hospital would benefit from Medicaid expansion.

Later, senate leaders Ty Masterson and Dan Hawkins called Medicaid expansion a “welfare tour for able-bodied adults who choose not to work.” These remarks are uninformed and also disrespectful of low-wage workers.

Better insurance reimbursement rates would be great, but are federal, not state issues.

Alley, Masterson and Hawkins should reconsider Medicaid expansion and resubmit the 2017 bill that passed both houses.

We need it for the future of Kansas.

Read the full letter on the Wichita Eagle website

Gary Brewer, Winfield, is a member of the Board of Trustees of William Newton Hospital