Opinion Columns & Blogs

Obamacare helping bail out state budget

After all his complaining about Obamacare, Gov. Sam Brownback now wants to use an Affordable Care Act program to help cover the state’s budget shortfall this fiscal year. Brownback proposed sweeping $55 million from a Medicaid drug-rebate program that was expanded by the ACA. However, the ACA also will cost the state a little more next year. Beginning in January, state and some local government employees who work 30 hours per week will be considered full time for state health insurance purposes. Currently, the state’s full-time threshold is 36 hours per week. The change is expected to cost state agencies about $1.5 million a year. To lower costs, the Brownback administration is considering increasing the threshold for part-time state employees being able to get health insurance. Currently, a part-time employee working 1,000 hours a year, or about 19.23 hours a week, can pay extra and join the state’s insurance plan. – Phillip Brownlee