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Expansion, Hilburn, and Coronavirus updates

This week, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee met for the first of three scheduled days to discuss the Medicaid expansion bill, SB 252. As a starting point, Committee Chair Sen. Gene Suellentrop (R-Wichita) invited Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to brief members on the status of ongoing legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides for Medicaid expansion.

The briefing covered challenges dating back to the first Supreme Court ruling on the ACA in 2012. During the briefing—which lasted the full meeting—it was noted that a provision in the bill provides for a scenario where expansion provisions under the ACA are altered. Namely, Medicaid expansion in Kansas would be repealed should the ACA's federal subsidy level for the expanded population ever be reduced.

On Monday and Tuesday next week, the committee is scheduled to continue discussion of the bill and any proposed amendments. Monday will be the last day for potential bill introductions in the committee, and in all other non-exempt committees.

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KMS’ proposed bill in response to the Hilburn ruling, SB 350, has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. It is among a number of bills in queue while the legislature addresses the session’s predominant issues, including Medicaid expansion and the constitutional amendment regarding abortion regulation. KMS believes SB 350 will receive a hearing, and in the meantime continues to meet with stakeholders and legislative leaders about the bill and answer questions.

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Coronavirus update: As you may have read, a patient at Lawrence Memorial Hospital was recently isolated and tested for possible 2019 novel coronavirus infection. On Feb. 1, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that tests had come back negative and that Kansas currently has no cases.

CDC has broadened the area of exposure beyond Wuhan, China to include the entire Chinese mainland (which does not include Hong Kong and Macau). KDHE and the CDC are currently recommending: "If you have influenza-like symptoms and have recently been to mainland China or around someone who has been to China and was sick, you are encouraged to contact your health care provider." Suspected potential cases should be reported to the KDHE Epidemiology Hotline 1-877-427-7317.    

The latest information on the outbreak and recommendations from the CDC are available at: www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus. Resources include symptom and treatment information in both English and Chinese.

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As always, we will keep you updated on these issues and others, as bills are introduced that could affect the practice of medicine in our state.  If you have questions about this update or other legislative matters, please contact KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Senate Bill 252, a 2020 Medicaid expansion bill currently under consideration in the Senate.
Senate Bill 350, a bill to amend the Health Care Stabilization Fund, providing for the dissolution of the fund under specified circumstances.

• View other bills that KMS is tracking at: www.KMSonline.org/billtracker