Report: Health care bill could cut $917M in funds for Kansas

The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas issued a new report Monday with more bad news for the Senate health bill, saying the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 would cause Kansas to lose $917 million in federal funding between 2020 and 2026.

“The conversion of Medicaid financing into a per capita cap would cripple our state’s budget and cause particular harm to states like Kansas that did not expand Medicaid coverage under the ACA, as we’d be denied access to enhanced funding for Medicaid to expand coverage in the future,” said David Jordan, executive director of the Alliance for a Health Kansas, in a news release. “It’s impossible for the Kansas budget to absorb cuts of this magnitude without raising taxes or significantly cutting services, especially in our state’s rural communities.”

The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas is a consumer-health advocacy group that has opposed the GOP healthcare plans.

The Senate is expected to vote on a “Motion to Proceed” Tuesday, likely using the House-passed American Health Care Act to start debate if the motion to proceed passes. The Senate could then pass an amendment to substitute the House bill with a Senate bill such as the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Another option is to take up the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it.

The report from the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas focuses on how the Better Care Reconciliation Act would affect Kansas.

The analysis found that:

▪ Per capita cap cuts could more than double by the end of the next decade, with Kansas cuts jumping from an estimated $127 million in fiscal year 2024 to $261 million in fiscal year 2026.

▪ To offset federal cuts, Kansas would need to increase its state spending by $917 million between 2020-2026.

▪ If Kansas distributes the federal reductions proportionately across all eligibility groups (based on current spending), cuts from 2020-2026 would total $222 million for seniors, $298 million for people with disabilities, $249 million for children and $146 million for low-income adults.

“A nearly billion dollar cut to federal funding of health care over the next decade would be detrimental to the state,” said Tom Bell, president and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association, in a news release. “Hospitals, both rural and urban, would be significantly impacted by these reductions and would be faced with difficult decisions that may include reduction in services and staffing levels.”

The Senate changed course last week after U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas joined three other Republican senators in opposing the Better Care Reconciliation Act, killing its chances of passing the Senate in its current form.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then said the Senate would proceed with repealing Obamacare without a plan in place, but was quickly opposed by Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Moran has voiced his support of the repeal-only bill.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said a repeal of Obamacare without replacing it would raise the number of uninsured people to 32 million in 2026 and that premiums in the nongroup market would roughly double by 2026.

Senators have yet to be told what legislation they could debate Tuesday if the motion to proceed passes, according to the New York Times.

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