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Aug. 24, 2012
LAWRENCE The Kansas Health Consumer Coalition has scheduled a public forum to discuss the ramifications of expanding the state's Medicaid program.
The event is scheduled Monday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine St. in Lawrence. It will be in the hospital auditorium.
Panelists will include Lawrence Memorial chief executive Gene Meyer, Jon Stewart, chief executive of Heartland Community Health Center, Scott Brunner, senior analyst and strategy team leader at the Kansas Health Institute, and Jennifer Weishaar, a member of the consumer coalition.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that states will have the option under the federal health reform law to expand Medicaid eligibility in January 2014. The program in Kansas currently is limited to low-income elderly people, children and the disabled. Under the Affordable Care Act, states may broaden that to include adults earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines. A full expansion could open the program to an additional 130,000 Kansans.
The state's Medicaid program currently serves about 380,000 Kansas residents at an annual cost of about $2.9 billion. The federal government would pick up the full cost of the new enrollees for the first few years after the expansion. The federal government currently covers about 60 percent of Kansas' Medicaid costs.
A few Republican governors who opposed the federal reform law have said their states will not expand Medicaid. Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, also opposed the law but has not ruled out the possibility he would support expanding the program's eligibility in Kansas. The issue is likely to come before the 2013 Legislature.
For additional information about Monday's forum contact Anna Lambertson, executive director of the consumer coalition, at 785-232-9997.