Hospitals in Kansas and Missouri--two contiguous states whose lawmakers rejected Medicaid expansion--will pay a heavy price for that decision, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute.
Hospitals in the two states will forfeit a combined $9.4 billion over the next decade in potential Medicaid payments if their respective states do not expand eligibility under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to the study. Missouri stands to lose $6.8 billion, while Kansas would lose $2.6 billion.
Two dozen states have so far declined to expand Medicaid eligibility under the ACA after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it was optional. In its report, the Urban Institute concluded that a large proportion of the nation's uninsured now reside in states that did not expand Medicaid.
With the federal government willing to pay 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid through 2016, Kansas itself has little financial risk associated with expanding eligibility; it would cost the state $52 million a year to do so, KHI News Service reported.
Moreover, lawmakers in the two states have become obstinate even about debating the issue. Earlier this year, Republicans in the Kansas legislature engaged in a variety of maneuvers to block debate on the issue for the rest of that legislative session.
In the Sunflower State, the Kansas Hospital Association (KHA) told KHI News Service that it is writing up its own Medicaid expansion bill, which will likely bring in the private sector in one form or another. "Our feeling is that the (Obama) administration wants to approve state plans and we ought to get something in front of them before it's too late," KHA President Tom Bell told KHI. He noted that the climate for debating expansion might be more hospitable after the November elections.