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Kansas Opioid Task Force Includes Medicaid Expansion Under Policy Recommendations

Jasleen Kaur
flickr/Creative Commons

The task force formed by Gov. Jeff Colyer to combat opioid abuse is disregarding his marching orders to stay away from the topic of Medicaid expansion.

Instead, it has voted overwhelmingly to include expansion among its policy recommendations to the governor and lawmakers.

Dr. Eric Voth, a substance abuse specialist and member of the task force, says Kansas needs the additional federal dollars that expansion would generate to pay for other initiatives.

"We’re looking at it strictly as a medical issue, not a political issue," Voth says. "And I think the people that look at it as a political issue are really bastardizing an important issue, which is getting health care coverage for people who have serious medical problems."

According to recent studies, about one-third of Kansans in need of mental health and substance abuse treatment would gain coverage under the expansion.

Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @jmcleanks. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.