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Brownback Wants Increase In Hospital Tax To Restore Medicaid Cuts

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo

In the face of growing criticism from health care providers, Gov. Sam Brownback says he wants to restore Medicaid cuts made in July to help balance the state budget. But the governor says he wants to raise a tax imposed on hospitals to do it.

Brownback says when lawmakers return to Topeka in January he will ask them to raise the hospital tax to generate the money needed to restore $56 million in cuts to KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

He says the cuts in payments to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacists and mental health providers could have been averted if hospitals had agreed to raise the tax in May.

Tom Bell, president of the Kansas Hospital Association, says his board considered the administration’s request to but rejected it because of Brownback’s refusal to consider KanCare expansion.

“I’ve never seen the folks I represent as frustrated about a program and a decision as they are about this one," he says.

A study commissioned by the hospital association found that expanding KanCare to cover more poor adults would generate more additional $2 billion in federal matching funds over five years.