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Kansas may be heading toward Medicaid expansion



The Flint Hills, in Kansas.

A behavioral health panel appointed by anti-Medicaid-expansion Gov. Sam Brownback  is leaning toward a recommending that Kansas explore Medicaid expansion, reports the Associated Press. It’s yet another example of how  states where Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has been blocked are now gradually or suddenly heading toward accepting, If it happens in Kansas, it will be a particular boon to the rural state’s clinics, and particularly its Federally Qualified Health Centers, most of whose patients are low-income.

The Adult Continuum of Care Committee, composed largely of mental-health professionals and law- enforcement an judiciary personnel, worked on recommendations Thursday that will go into its final report. The group approved language that advocates exploration of one or more models for expanding Medicaid.

‘”There are now multiple models and as each year that passes there are additional models in other states,”  Amy Campbell, with the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, told the AP. “So whether or not Medicaid expansion can help us to serve people in the appropriate setting with the appropriate treatment like we want to depends on how that Medicaid expansion is constructed.”

The committee, commissioned by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, was assigned to seek ways to strengthen the state’s behavioral health system, including identifying gaps in services.

“Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said last month that the governor has insisted on three conditions before opening up Medicaid to able-bodied adults.

“The conditions include that the state first must provide necessary services to eligible disabled Kansans who are on waiting lists; that any expansion plan must be budget neutral and fiscally sustainable over the long term; and that the federal government give states the option of adding a work requirement component to help recipients transition to full-time employment with private health insurance.”


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