TOPEKA, Kansas – The state’s insurance commissioner expressed concern Wednesday over a bill being discussed in the state House of Representatives that could lead to state lawmakers gaining control of federal healthcare dollars.
Commissioner Sandy Praeger says the bill would undermine reforms in the Affordable Care Act and could potentially give the state legislature control over what to do with the money Kansas receives from federal healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
“It would make me very nervous to have those healthcare dollars in the state general fund where they would have to compete with other pressing funding issues,” Praeger told KSN.
The bill, HB 2553, would allow Kansas to join a healthcare compact with eight other states that have passed similar legislation. It has passed out of committee, and is awaiting a vote before the full House. It would urge Congress to give states in the compact a block grant of money to administer the programs.
“The healthcare issue is such a large issue, that it’s too large to be addressed by the federal government to try to apply a cookie-cutter approach across all 50 states,” Rep. Brett Hildabrand, (R) – Shawnee and one of the sponsors of the bill, said.
If the bill becomes law, the compact would still need to be approved by Congress in order for it to be effective, which is unlikely at the moment since Democrats control the U.S. Senate.