Capitol Comments Articles
Senate Select Committee Continues Medicaid Expansion Discussion

KanCare (Oct. 24, 2109) – Yesterday, the Senate Select Committee on Health Care Access, chaired by Senator Gene Suellentrop (R – Wichita), met again to continue discussions on potential Medicaid expansion scenarios.

The morning began with a discussion of some items that are considered part of the senate proposal on expansion including lockout periods, social determinants of health, the Kansasworks program and the tobacco tax.

The committee spent the afternoon reviewing the draft bill outlining the senate plan, prepared at the request of Senator Jim Denning (R-Overland Park). While very similar to the legislation passed by the Kansas House in 2019, House Bill 2066, there are some notable changes:

  • The tiered system of requesting eligibility thresholds from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that begins at 100 percent of the federal poverty level and ends with full expansion;
  • Premiums of up to 5 percent of household income for those with incomes above 100 percent of the FPL;
  • A system of tiered Medicaid benefits for beneficiaries exhibiting healthy behaviors;
  • A six-month lock-out period for those who are 60 or more days delinquent in making premium payments;
  • Requires that Medicaid managed care give preference to plans that provide health insurance plans in the marketplace and require tiered benefits; and
  • A surcharge of $31 million on hospitals to fund expansion.

The final committee recommendations to the 2020 legislature are as follows:

  • Initiate a rural health care taskforce to focus on maintaining health care in rural areas.
  • A request that KHA develop a transparency plan to identify cost shifting from bad debt to private pay patients.
  • A request that KHA and the University of Kansas Health System work together to develop a modified demonstration waiver for an alternative rural health care delivery model.
  • Send a letter on behalf of the committee to the Kansas Senators and Congressmen in support of the alternative model implementation.
  • Referral of the proposed legislation provided to the committee to the Senate Health Committee if the special committee does not continue to meet and to the Special Committee on Medicaid Expansion, along with the side-by-side comparison of the proposed legislation and 2019 HB 2066.
  • Directed the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to provide testimony to the committee considering the proposed legislation regarding the IMD exclusion language included as a proviso in the 2019 appropriations bill in order to get it placed in statute.

The committee may reconvene later this year to continue their work on the Senate's health care plan. The next interim committee to consider KanCare expansion will be the joint House-Senate committee that will meet in mid-November. KHA will continue to evaluate the Senate's proposal on KanCare expansion and will be providing feedback to the committee.