This week the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee continued the hearing on SB 252, Medicaid expansion, with opponents testifying on both Wednesday and Thursday. With the hearing concluded, the process of discussing the bill and debating potential amendments among committee members begins. If the bill is favorably passed out of committee, the full Senate will debate it and proposed amendments before potentially passing it to the House, where the process would repeat and continue.
Hilburn Response Bill Introduced
Also in the Senate health committee this week, KMS introduced SB 350 in response to the Hilburn ruling—the state Supreme Court's recent decision that struck down Kansas’ cap on non-economic damages in a motor vehicle personal injury case. Because there is uncertainty about whether the ruling also applies to medical malpractice actions, KMS believes the best approach is to make some needed updates to the Health Care Stabilization Fund coverage requirements while we await further clarification from the Court. (Read the KMS briefing for more information.)
Under the bill, the Health Care Stabilization Fund will continue to exist unless the Court strikes down the noneconomic damages cap in a medical malpractice case. In that event the Stabilization Fund would be phased out under the supervision of the Insurance Commissioner. The mandatory insurance coverage requirement for health care providers would also be repealed. In the meantime, the minimum coverage requirement in the Fund would be increased from $300,000 per claim to $1 million per claim.
KMS believes that Kansas patients and providers are best served by the balance achieved through the existence of the cap on non-economic damages and participation in the Health Care Stabilization Fund, a unique construct that has worked well for over three decades.
KMS has met with legislative leaders, health care provider associations, the Kansas Chamber, and other business groups to explain the approach contained in SB 350 and answer questions about the legislation.
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• Senate Bill 350, a bill to amend the Health Care Stablization Fund, providing for the dissolution of the fund under specified circumstances.
• Senate Bill 252, the 2020 Medicaid expansion bill currently under consideration in the Senate.