KHI News Service

Kansas hospitals backing Medicaid expansion

By Dave Ranney | November 25, 2013

Kelly Brown is the subject of a new series of TV commercials made by the Kansas Hospital Association pushing state officials to expand Medicaid eligibility as provided for by the Affordable Care Act. Brown, a single mother who lives in Lawrence, shares that even though she works six days a week, she cannot afford health insurance. Her income makes her ineligible for Medicaid.

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The Kansas Hospital Association recently completed an advertising campaign aimed at building support for expanding state’s Medicaid program.

“We’re just wanting to raise the public’s awareness about there being a lot of people who would benefit from expanding Medicaid,” said Cindy Samuelson, a KHA spokesperson.

The association, which represents all 128 hospitals in Kansas, sponsored radio and television commercials in the Wichita and Kansas City markets from Nov. 11 through Nov. 22.

Kansas is one of 24 states that have chosen not to expand their Medicaid programs to include adults whose incomes are below 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

Currently, low-income children, pregnant women and the elderly are eligible for Medicaid. Childless adults are not.

A parent is eligible if his or her income is less than 32 percent of poverty line, about $630 a month for a thee-person household.

Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican majorities in both legislative chambers have shelved the state’s Medicaid-expansion debate, citing doubts that the federal government will be able to keep its promise to cover most of the costs associated with the expansion.

In the KHA commercials, Kelly Brown, a single mother who lives in Lawrence, shares that even though she works six days a week, she cannot afford health insurance. Her income makes her ineligible for Medicaid.

“What I make (wages) is pretty much living paycheck to paycheck, just trying to get the things me and my daughter need to get by,” Brown said.

Her daughter, she says, is covered by Medicaid.

“If I end up with a serious illness," Brown says, "then I’m usually ending up in the hospital just to figure out what’s wrong and get it taken care of as quickly as possible, so, again, I can get back to work to raise my daughter because I’m doing it on my own.”

The commercials have been posted below and on KHA’s website.

Samuelson said two additional videos are in the works. “We’ll be putting them on the website as well,” she said.

Hospital officials throughout the state have been meeting with legislators to “talk about what expansion means locally to each of them,” Samuelson said.

Sean Gatewood, interim director with the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition, an advocacy group for the state’s uninsured and underinsured, welcomed the hospital association’s campaign.

“It’s great to have them on board,” Gatewood said.

“There are two fundamental things that communities in rural settings are built around: schools and hospitals,” he said. “So the hospitals’ voice really matters. We’re excited to have them.”

The hospital association is not a “signed up” member of the consumer coalition, Gatewood said.

Regan Cussimanio, director of government relations for the Kansas Cancer Action Network, said the group also is backing Medicaid expansion.

“Our position is that all cancer patients should have access to care and treatment,” said Cussimanio, who represents the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society. “That includes those people who aren’t eligible for Medicaid now but would be with expansion.

"The way it is now, there are a lot of treatments that just aren’t available to patients who don’t have insurance or who can’t pay for it,” she said.


KHI News Service coverage of Medicaid expansion

Medicaid Access Coalition launches online "ticker" showing foregone federal dollars (2/13/14)
→ KHI report: Nearly 182,000 Kansans in the ‘Eligibility Gap’ (1/11/14)
House speaker says Medicaid expansion is "up to the governor" (1/10/14)
KS Senate president says Medicaid expansion unlikely to gain approval this session (1/7/14)
Profiles of the coverage gap: Kathleen Christian (1/6/14)
Efforts continue to expand Medicaid in Kansas and Missouri (1/6/14)
Hospital association hires former Bush HHS secretary to help craft a plan Kansas Republicans might support (12/23/13)
Iowa wins approval to expand Medicaid by using federal funds to buy private insurance (12/11/13)
White House officials hold call to urge Medicaid expansion in Kansas (11/21/13)
Republican governor talks up plan to expand Medicaid — his way (10/28/13)
Challenger says Brownback owes voters a decision on Medicaid expansion (10/22/13)
Nearly 5.2M Americans fall in coverage gap in states not expanding Medicaid (10/16/13)
Sebelius: Feds flexible on how states expand Medicaid (9/22/13)
Sebelius says Kansas and Missouri are missing the boat on Medicaid expansion (9/20/13)
Medicaid expansion coalition finds strength in numbers (9/17/13)
Republican Gov. Corbett proposes expanding Pennsylvania Medicaid (9/16/13)
Kansas lawmakers urged to consider Medicaid expansion by Wesley CEO (8/29/13)
Estimating maneuver could help more people gain from Obamacare: How the poor might qualify for Affordable Care Act subsidies in states that don't expand Medicaid (8/12/13)
Report: States not expanding Medicaid stand to benefit most from doing so (7/18/13)
CMS won’t penalize hospitals in states slow to expand Medicaid (5/14/13)
Insurer Centene: We can do Arkansas-style Medicaid (5/14/13)
The Arkansas Medicaid Model: What you need to know about the 'private option' (5/2/13)
Nothing to be done about coverage gap in states not expanding Medicaid, feds say (4/29/13)
Brownback says he's listening to Medicaid expansion proponents, opponents (4/5/13)
Oregon shows costs of putting Medicaid enrollees in private coverage (3/29/13)
Governor urged to expand Medicaid eligibility (3/27/13)
Arkansas Medicaid expansion attracts other states' interest (3/26/13)
Senate president prefers options remain open on Medicaid expansion (3/25/13)
States urged to expand Medicaid with private insurance (3/22/13)
Senate budget amendment underscores opposition to Medicaid expansion (3/21/13)
Study: Kansas employers face millions a year in possible penalties without Medicaid expansion (3/15/13)
More than 30 Kansas groups pushing for Medicaid expansion (3/12/13)
Health insurers see big opportunities in health law’s Medicaid expansion (3/8/13)
Medicaid expansion supporters to step up lobbying efforts (3/7/13)
Budget committee hears resolution opposing Medicaid expansion (2/22/13)
Legislators focusing on Medicaid expansion cost estimates (2/19/13)
Kansas hospital group study predicts expanding Medicaid would generate 4,000 jobs (2/18/13)
Brownback officials release their cost projections for Medicaid expansion (2/8/13)
Medicaid expansion bill introduced (1/22/13)
Kansas hospitals worried about loss of dollars for charity care (1/14/13)
Brownback compiling own estimate of Medicaid expansion cost (12/20/12)
Group urges Brownback to expand Medicaid eligibility (11/9/12)
Debate begins on possible Kansas Medicaid expansion (10/25/12)
Amerigroup CEO says states ‘need’ to go along with Medicaid expansion (7/11/12)
Kansas hospitals ready to get on with federal health reform, spokesman says (7/2/12)
Kansas AG claims partial victory in health reform case (6/29/12)
High court upholds Affordable Care Act, but ruling puts limits on Medicaid expansion (6/28/12)

→ Kansas Hospital Association: An opportunity for the Kansas Medicaid program
→ Americans for Prosperity-Kansas: Well-intentioned policies do more harm than good
→ Health Reform Resource Project: The cost of not expanding Medicaid
→ Rep. Jim Ward: Medicaid expansion essential for healthier Kansas
→ Rep. David Crum: Reasons for opposing Medicaid expansion
→ National Academy for State Health Policy: Much ado about Arkansas: Medicaid in the insurance exchange

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