Surely legislation sought by the Kansas Hospital Association and major Wichita employers such as Via Christi Health and Wesley Medical Center merits a hearing in the House Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita. Yet Hawkins told the Kansas Health Institute News Service that he had “nothing scheduled” on the three bills proposing to expand KanCare and that he opposes expansion because “I’m really not for government-sponsored health care.” The expansion, which would help providers offset deep reimbursement cuts under the Affordable Care Act, would change eligibility rules to insure about 150,000 lower-income Kansans while bringing an estimated 3,700 new jobs and $2.2 billion in federal funding to the state by 2020. Proponents are trying to make it as free-market and Kansas-focused as possible. Hawkins and other legislative leaders should at least allow a Statehouse discussion of this issue. Asked what uninsured poor Kansans who might be helped by expansion should do, Hawkins said: “I always tried to find a job that had health care.” – Rhonda Holman
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