Medicaid expansion gets testimony
Many healthcare eyes are watching a bill that would expand Medicaid eligibility in Kansas and bring some relief to both medical providers and patients in the county.
The Kansas Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare now has in its hands a bill that, if passed, would expand Medicaid eligibility. The bill passed last month in the House.
Rep. Don Schroeder, R-Hesston, voted in favor of the bill. He said providing Medicaid to the state’s poor would relieve rural hospitals from treating uninsured patients who cannot pay for services.
“Hospitals are required to provide medical care for those who show up in the emergency room,” Schroeder said.
Urban hospitals are struggling, but rural hospitals operate on a tight string, and every penny counts for them, Schroeder said.
Senate committee members heard testimony from supporters on Monday and opponents on Tuesday.
Among those watching what happens is Marion Regier, CEO of Hillsboro Community Hospital.
“I do hope it will pass the Senate,” Regier said. “Expanding Medicaid will allow people not eligible to get coverage on the marketplace to get coverage.”
Having insurance encourages people to seek treatment when they need it, instead of when a health condition becomes a crisis, Regier said. Getting treatment early makes it less costly and improves outcomes, she said.
Another Marion County onlooker is Eric Schrag, administrator at Bethesda Home.
“Medicaid is an important program for rural nursing facilities,” Schrag said. “Sixty-four percent of our residents have Medicaid as their primary funding source.”