April 28, 2014
In Kansas, there’s been a lot of debate about our economy and the best approach to growing jobs, increasing revenue and bringing prosperity to the state. The good news is there’s an opportunity at our doorstep to invest in hardworking Kansans and our economy that’s a decidedly pro-growth policy choice: Medicaid expansion.
One in six Kansas adults under 65 don’t have health insurance, including nearly 100,000 hardworking Kansans in more than 150 industries, many of which are critical to the Kansas economy. With Medicaid expansion, workers in job sectors such as retail sales, nursing, food service and child care would gain access to much needed medical and dental care that their more highly paid counterparts have long enjoyed.
Expanding Medicaid is a common-sense approach that would go a long way toward increasing economic security for uninsured workers, as well as being an asset for small businesses – which would benefit from a healthier and more productive workforce.
Not only would expansion help a significant number of working Kansans, it would also bring new jobs and money to the Kansas economy – something our state could benefit from as we slowly recover from the Great Recession. Coming at nearly no cost to the state – the federal government pays the bill through 2016 and no less than 90 percent after that time – this job- and revenue-creating policy is a bargain for Kansans.
The argument that we should forego this important investment because of future uncertainty has never kept Kansas from turning away important federal funds for education, transportation or public safety. Turning our back on investing in a healthier Kansas workforce, bringing jobs to our state and adding important revenue to our bank account runs counter to our ambition of enacting pro-growth policies that invest in our economy. Opportunity is knocking in Kansas, and we should open the door to Medicaid expansion.