Wagle should lead effort to expand Medicaid

waglenewKansas Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, thinks that “Kansas should partner with the federal government and should work toward finding solutions that cover everyone that needs to be covered” by health insurance. Nonetheless, she doesn’t think the Legislature will agree to allow a federal expansion of Medicaid, blaming that reluctance on problems with the Affordable Care Act. “I think it will be very difficult to do this year because of the unpredictability of the federal plan and the instability of the plan,” she told the Kansas Health Institute News Service. Wagle and Gov. Sam Brownback should lead efforts to change lawmakers’ minds and expand Medicaid, either through KanCare or a private marketplace. They should point out that expansion would inject more than $3 billion into the state’s economy over the next seven years, according to a Kansas Hospital Association report. And not expanding means that about 78,000 low-income, uninsured Kansans would fall into the gap of not qualifying either for Medicaid or ACA subsidies, according to new estimates by the Kaiser Family Foundation.