February 8, 2019

In This Issue
Fast Facts
President Trump Pushes Drug Pricing, Cancer Cure Funding at State of the Union
Hearings Continue on Pre-Existing Condition Protections
NAHU’s Healthcare Happy Hour: Special Guest Discussion on Balance-Billing
Miss Yesterday’s "State of the Union" Webinar?
NAHU Calls on Congress to Oppose Medicare for All
State Spotlight: Kansas Governor Reintroduces Medicaid-Expansion Legislation
Senators Mike Braun and Jacky Rosen Are Coming to the HUPAC Reception—Are You?
HUPAC Roundup: State of the Union History, Guest Lists, and Members of Congress Saying Goodbye
What We’re Reading
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State Spotlight: Kansas Governor Reintroduces Medicaid-Expansion Legislation
Kansas is trying again to pass legislation that would expand Medicaid to 150,000 people in the state. Newly elected governor Laura Kelly (D) endorsed KA HB2102 (19R), a bill that would expand the program by January 2020. Democratic lawmakers in the state will face resistance due to the similar nature of another proposed bill for Medicaid expansion from 2017. The bill, KA HB2044 (17R), was vetoed by then-governor Sam Brownback (R). Lawmakers now face a more conservative Legislature than two years ago.

Republicans will continue to fight against the bill and have the odds in their favor. In the same election that elected Governor Kelly, Republicans retained their majorities in both chambers and picked up half-dozen seats in the House. State Representative Dan Hawkins (R), who is chairman of the House’s Health Committee, may assume the role of the chamber’s majority leader. He hopes to “look at every way possible to stop [the bill].”

Kelly promises to create a bipartisan plan, but the cost of the expansion leaves Republicans skeptical. Previous Governors Brownback and Jeff Colyer cited cost as the biggest reason for the state not expanding the program. Studies put the expansions costs from $22 million a year to $100 million. Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle (R) believes the program is unaffordable and would require a tax increase. Kelly and other supporters argue that with the reduced expenses associated with uncovered medical care and the employment in local hospitals, the plan would result in a net gain for the state. With two hospitals closing in the last several years, Kelly views expanding Medicaid as her “moral obligation.”
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