Expanding Medicaid could save money, lives

Gov. Sam Brownback still hasn’t announced whether he will allow the expansion of Medicaid, which the federal government will cover until 2016 and nearly cover after that. In addition to saving the state money and boosting its economy with the influx of federal funds, the expansion would have another benefit: It could reduce deaths in Kansas. A study by Harvard University researchers published in September in the New England Journal of Medicine found that states that previously had expanded Medicaid reduced their mortality rates by 6.1 percent. The researchers concluded that the expansions “were significantly associated with reduced mortality as well as improved coverage, access to care and self-reported health.”