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Lawmakers in Topeka are considering a new plan for “opening up” the health care market for Kansas. Their definition of “opening up” is expanding the failed Medicaid program.
We need to make health care more affordable, but Medicaid expansion is not the way to get us there.
Myth #1 – Expanding Medicaid will provide more access to care for those in need.
Fact – Medicaid expansion hurts the very people the program is meant to help. With an already limited amount of providers that accept Medicaid, adding able bodied, working age adults to this program makes it harder for the truly needy already using the Medicaid to get care. According to a Foundation for Government Accountability study, approximately 55,000 Kansans will lose their private insurance and be forced onto Medicaid instead if expansion passes.
Myth #2 – Medicaid expansion will stay on-budget and not require tax increases
Fact – No amount of spending would satisfy those who want to expand the program. Although the federal government funds a large part of Medicaid, our state is still on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars.
In many other states that have tried Medicaid expansion, enrollment numbers are often underestimated, meaning the state must come up with more money to fund the program. Research from the Foundation for Government Accountability found Medicaid expansion costs states an average 157% more than originally estimated.
Where does that money come from? Your pocket.
Myth #3 – Expanding Medicaid is the best option for accessing quality health care
Fact – A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the best way to ensure Kansans have access to quality health care. A better way to provide more access to care would be to remove regulations that prohibit medical practices from growing and innovating.
Simple reforms, such as rolling back scope of practice laws and empowering nurse practitioners to practice the full extent of their medical expertise, would provide more access to affordable care. In states that have introduced scope of practice reforms, families spend 15 percent less for pediatric care, 17 percent lesson outpatient care and 11 percent less on prescription drugs.
According to health care experts, allowing nurse practitioners to practice the full extent of their expertise could alleviate an estimated two-thirds of primary care shortages in states like Kansas.
Medicaid expansion is not the way to fix our health care problems here in Kansas. Lawmakers should be working to get government out of the way rather than expanding its role. Tell your elected official not to expand Medicaid in Kansas!