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Brownback Reasserts Opposition To Medicaid Expansion In Speech

Susie Fagan
Heartland Health Monitor

If there was any confusion about Gov. Sam Brownback’s position on Medicaid expansion, there isn’t any more. He made it clear in his state of the state speech last night that he’s opposed to it despite rising concerns about rural hospitals.

The governor says it wasn’t the state’s rejection of Medicaid expansion that hastened the closure of the hospital in the southeast Kansas community of Independence, it was “Obamacare.”

“It was Obamacare that cut Medicare reimbursements to rural hospitals. It was Obamacare that caused the problem," Brownback said. "We should not expand Obamacare to solve the problem.”

Rural hospitals have in fact taken a financial hit from the Medicare reductions in the Affordable Care Act. But it’s one they hoped to offset with increased revenue from Medicaid and more patients with private coverage.

The Kansas Hospital Association says the rejection of expansion has cost the state $920 million and counting in additional federal funding.

Undeterred, Brownback says Kansas should come up with its own plan for helping rural providers.

He’s given a working group headed by Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer a year to dig into the issues and come back with proposals.

More from KHI News Service.