David Jordan: Kansas needs Medicaid expansion

By David Jordan | Sept. 5, 2020

Kansas, like most other states, is facing a sharp loss of state revenue due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Yet, now more than ever, Kansas can’t afford not to expand Medicaid.

Despite facing a budget shortfall, Kansas forfeits $1.8 million in federal funds each day by choosing not to expand eligibility for KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program. In total, Kansas has lost out on $4.24 billion dollars in federal aid since 2014.

We can’t claim to be fiscally responsible and forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The economic impact of bringing those funds back to Kansas will speed our recovery and create new jobs.

Given the state’s budget constraints, fiscally responsible policy maximizes state general fund dollars by drawing down federal funds and generating new tax revenue.

Over next two budget years, expanding Medicaid would cost the state just $20.74 million in state general funds but would leverage $1.53 billion from the federal government. After accounting for upfront investments, cost savings and funds generated from a new hospital assessment, expanding Medicaid will only cost Kansas $2.08 million for fiscal year 2022.

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