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Medicaid Expansion is NOT right for Kansas!

Kansas must prioritize the disabled over those capable of providing for themselves!

Governor Laura Kelly has made expanding Medicaid her primary policy position of the 2024 session. While there are some benefits to expanding Medicaid, such as providing income for NMC Health by offsetting some of their uncompensated care, every legislative decision has two sides.  Let me share some facts that aren't being discussed.

It is important to understand that expansion only applies to those capable of working between the ages of 18 - 64.  Medicaid was designed to provide much needed care for the elderly, disabled, children and expectant mothers. Expansion would not increase coverage for any of them, and arguably, would detract coverage due to the lack of physicians in Kansas.

Governor Kelly continues to prioritize those capable of providing for themselves over those that are disabled. There are currently over 7,000 intellectually and physically disabled Kansan’s on the Medicaid waiting list ( ). Some have waited over a decade for services. For the second year in a row, the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability requested $45 million to add 1500 slots for services for these Kansans and, for a second year in row, she removed that funding ( I am fighting to return it.

There should be an expectation that if you can work, you are working.  That is called a work requirement.  If the Kansas taxpayers are expected to pay the bill for free health insurance for others, they should be expected to do their part. Under the Affordable Care Act, if you make at least $14,800 per year, you can get free health insurance on the exchange.  This is already available.  If you make $10 per hour and work 29 hours per week, you can get health insurance for free ( ).

Speaking of affordable health care, Newton is so blessed to have Health Ministries in our community.  Health Ministries is our federally qualified health care center, and it provides medical, dental, mental health and pharmacy services regardless of one's ability to pay.  We should all spread the word to ensure all of our neighbors receive the care they need. Visit

 It is projected that of the 150,000 who will qualify for free health insurance through Medicaid, 80,000 will drop private health insurance to get free health insurance.  It's important to note that hospitals make money on private insurance, and they lose money on Medicaid.  We are so lucky to have NMC Health in our community.  They truly deserve to be paid for the uncompensated care they provide. Just last year, I was able to work with members of the Appropriations Committee to allocate $20 million in the budget to offset the costs of uncompensated care in our rural hospitals.  Unfortunately, it was stripped away during the conference committee process, but I will continue to find solutions for our hospitals.

Speaking of our hospitals, the governor's plan increases taxes on hospitals to the tune of $63,000,000 to pay a portion of the cost to expand Medicaid.  We are told that expansion will save rural hospitals, however the data suggests otherwise.  You just have to look at Oklahoma as an example ( So how does increasing taxes on them make any sense?

The federal debt just exceeded $34 Trillion.  We will soon spend more on interest payments for our national debt than on defense spending, making it the 3rd highest government expense only behind Social Security and Medicare / Medicaid ( This is a ticking time bomb, and by implementing expansion in Kansas, the feds will have to borrow another $1,000,000,000 +  to pay for it.  Some say that our tax dollars would be  going to other states. Honestly, it would be borrowed money that our grandchildren would have to pay for. 

I fully support Medicaid.  It already offers services for children, disabled, elderly, expectant mothers and many more.  I do not support expanding Medicaid at the expense of those truly in need. While there are some benefits to expansion, the pitfalls mentioned below far exceed the potential gains.  Remember, with any policy, there are two sides.  Let’s remember, the government is rarely the solution.  To quote Ronald Reagan “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’”


Stephen Owens for State Senate
Kaitlyn Rostetter, Treasurer
PO Box 606
Hesston, KS 67062
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