Community members speak out about KanCare expansion

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Metro Chamber, Via Christi, and GraceMed spoke about the importance of KanCare expansion on Wednesday.

“We all agree that expanding KanCare is an important solution to meeting the healthcare needs of a lot of folks in Kansas.”

That’s the message from several local organizations who all came out.

“We’re seeing jobs cut and hospitals threatened in the state because we’re not taking advantage of those federal dollars through the expansion of Medicaid,” said Gary Plummer, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Lawmakers in Topeka have debated the issue but the state did not expand when the federal government offered to pay 100 percent of the costs for the first few years as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Many lawmakers believe expansion would have to cost more, and with the state’s current budget situation, it’s not possible.

Plummer believes the expansion could be budget neutral and should be made a priority in the next session

“Those folks end up in emergency rooms of local hospitals. Via Christi said that in the first quarter of 2016, they provided over $50 millions dollars worth of charity care and it’s just a system that’s not sustainable.”

It is a concern that has to wait for the next legislative session.