HUTCHINSON, Kan.- Hutchinson Representative Jason Probst says he is ready for the legislative session to get underway in Topeka. Probst says his main hope in the legislature is the passage of the Medicaid expansion bill.
“We’ve been arguing that for about six years,” Probst said. “ My hope is that we can get it resolved. We’ve been working pretty hard this year to try and negotiate a compromise.”
Probst says that Hutchinson Regional Medical Center and other smaller hospitals in the western 2/3rds of the state would greatly benefit from the medical program’s expansion.
“Hospitals the size of Hutchinson and some of the rural hospitals west of here, they run on really thin margins,” Probst said. “ Hutch hospital has millions of dollars every year in compensated care that they believe would be addressed in part by Medicaid expansion.”
Probst says that the argument that there isn’t enough money to run the Medicaid program in Kansas is not justified.
“Largely it’s an ideological argument that they don’t want to expand a government program,” Probst said. “There is some concern the federal government could eventually run out of funds. I think that’s a non-starter. We put a clause in the bill last year that said if the federal contribution falls below 90% we would be able to get out.
Probst says enough states are in the program that it would be hard for the federal government to pull funding from Medicaid.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning plan a news conference for Thursday on the issue.