Medicaid expansion would help mentally ill, state budget

It’s shameful that Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature have yet to allow a federal expansion of Medicaid, even though the expansion would bring needed health insurance to about 150,000 Kansans, inject more than $3 billion into the state’s economy, help stabilize funding to hospitals, and actually save the state money. One reason the state could save money is that it currently helps pay for mental health care for people who are uninsured. A new report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that more than 21,000 uninsured Kansans who have mental illness would be covered by expanded Medicaid. “Expanding Medicaid will help people living with a mental illness get back to work,” Rick Cagan, executive director for NAMI Kansas, told the Kansas Health Institute News Service. “It will help them recover and become more productive. It’s the most important step our state can take right now.” It’s also a step that Brownback keeps putting off.