This week, KMS was among about 20 organizations to give oral testimony at the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee in support of Medicaid expansion. Among the others testifying were KDHE secretary Lee Norman, MD, Tom Bell, President and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association, and Lynn Fisher, MD, on behalf of the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians.
Next week, three days are scheduled for opponents' testimony. Among those expected to testify in opposition are the Kansas Policy Institute and Americans for Prosperity. They argue, among other things, Medicaid expansion grows government, expands an entitlement program, and disincentivizes working.
KMS continues to stress the public policy position that we have held for more than 20 years: that all Kansans should have health coverage. From our testimony: “To the extent that private health insurance is either unaffordable or unavailable due to health or employment status, public programs such as Medicaid should provide such coverage.” (Read full KMS testimony here.)
After all testimony is heard, the Senate committee will begin to debate and consider potential amendments to the bill. That process could take one or more weeks to complete. However long it takes, we expect the committee will not take up other issues in the meantime.Medicaid expansion is a highly politically charged issue. It pits a variety of different factions against each other, meaning it will surely be among the most dominant factors in policy debates this session. Although there is broad support for Medicaid expansion in both parties, it could take time for the bill to step through the process so that all factions feel like they have pieces of the policy that they can support politically.
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Even while much of the political oxygen in the health arena is consumed by Medicaid expansion, advanced practice registered nurses continue to advocate for practicing medicine independently. APRNs are emailing and otherwise lobbying their legislators daily—as are some community members, Americans for Prosperity, and other economic groups. While all eyes are on Medicaid expansion at this moment, things can change rapidly. KMS continues to be prepared to actively oppose APRNs practicing medicine independently.
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As the session progresses, we will keep you updated as issues arise and as bills are introduced that could affect the practice of medicine in our state.
• KMS testimony in support of Medicaid expansion. (1/23/2020)
• Senate Bill 252, the 2020 Medicaid expansion bill currently under consideration in the Senate.
• House Bill 2412, the current bill to allow APRNs to independently practice medicine.
• View other bills that KMS is tracking at: KMSonline.org/billtracker