Medicaid expansion advocates are planning to tout expanding Medicaid as a way to benefit public safety and law enforcement.
Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay is scheduled to speak at a news conference on Wednesday hosted by Via Christi Health at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Both Via Christi Health and the chamber have been pushing for the state to expand Medicaid, called KanCare in Kansas, which is the insurance program for certain people with low incomes or who are disabled.
Ramsay would not discuss the news conference on Monday. His support of expansion was mentioned at a public meeting on Oct. 11 hosted by the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, a nonprofit organization formed this year aimed at widening support for expansion among Kansans and thus among lawmakers.
Wednesday’s news conference signals a new tactic by supporters to link Medicaid expansion with mental health and police issues.
Prior to this, the push for expansion had largely focused on economics such as job creation, keeping rural hospitals open, economic growth and bringing federal tax dollars back to Kansas.
Speakers at Wednesday’s announcement include representatives from the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Via Christi Health, the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, GraceMed Clinic, the Kansas Hospital Association and Ramsay, according to the Via Christi news release.
The Legislature has not expanded Medicaid, largely because of political opposition to the Affordable Care Act and the belief it would cost the state too much money.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was created with the intent that all states would expand Medicaid programs. A Supreme Court ruling later left that decision to each state.
Kansas is one of 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid. Those states have an insurance coverage gap – a group of people who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but make too little to qualify for tax credits and subsidies that help make health insurance affordable.