Medicaid expansion isn’t what the doctor ordered. Gov. Jeff Colyer told a handful of lawmakers on Monday that he isn’t interested in expanding Medicaid.
“I think there are much better solutions than what has been on the table,” Colyer, a medical doctor, told a bipartisan group of legislators.
Though Colyer didn’t offer details on other solutions, he may be onto something.
According to recent data released by eHealth, Obamacare is responsible for premium increases of about 60 percent since 2013. Prior to the adoption of the Affordable Care Act, premiums increased by less than 10 percent over the same amount of time.
Obamacare’s ugly sidekick, Medicaid expansion, has added more able-bodied adults to the Medicaid rolls. There are 17.5 million more able-bodied adults on Medicaid than people who are disabled, the group Medicaid was originally designed to assist.
Meanwhile, disabled people languish on waiting lists for Medicaid services as more and more able-bodied adults take an ever-increasing share, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability.
FGA released a report detailing the growing waiting list crisis. Since Obamacare expansion began, 21,904 people have died on Medicaid waiting lists.
“While Obamacare didn’t create these waiting lists, it is increasing the likelihood that truly needy individuals will never get the help they need by diverting billions of dollars to able-bodied adults,” the report concludes.
Nicholas Horton, the report’s author, says Medicaid has lost its focus.
“It’s time that Congress and state policymakers reprioritize and refocus the program to restore it to its original purpose–a safety net for the truly vulnerable,” Horton says. “Policymakers should enact work requirements for able-bodied adults, crack down on welfare fraud and stop further Obamacare expansions to protect Medicaid for the truly needy.”
Kansas’ Medicaid waiting list for those with physical disabilities dipped by 1,700 individuals between 2015 and 2016, but the number of Kansans on the waiting list for developmental or intellectual disabilities has remained somewhat stagnant.
Former Gov. Sam Brownback said eliminating the waiting lists was a bigger priority than expanding Medicaid. He vetoed a Medicaid expansion bill in 2016, and lawmakers were unable to override it.
The Senate Health committee forwarded a Medicaid expansion to the full Senate last month, but it has yet to reach the floor. Senate leadership has wide discretion on whether bills are debated on the floor. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning reportedly told lawmakers he doesn’t intend to allow the bill to advance until lawmakers reach an agreement on school finance and the Kansas Supreme Court signs off on it. Two-thirds of the Senate can advance the legislation without support from leadership, however, that appears unlikely. Medicaid expansion passed the Senate last year two votes shy of a two-thirds majority.