Governor Laura Kelly Leads Roundtable on Medicaid Expansion: A Step Towards Healthier Kansas and Economic Relief for Taxpayers

By Trish Svoboda

Governor Laura Kelly held a roundtable discussion today, April 17, at the Shawnee County Adult Correctional Facility, bringing together law enforcement and community leaders to discuss the implications of Medicaid expansion for counties and local taxpayers. This gathering is the second stop on her revitalized “Healthy Workers, Healthy Economy” tour, anticipating the Kansas Legislature’s upcoming vote on April 26 to bring the Medicaid expansion debate to the Senate floor.

“We have left more than $7 billion in Washington, D.C. as one of the last ten states to expand Medicaid,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This influx of funding would have an enormous impact by decreasing the financial burden on our jails and county taxpayers and increasing access to mental health care services for all Kansans. When the legislature reconvenes next week, it is time for legislators to debate and vote on Medicaid expansion.”

Roundtable attendees discussed the substantial influence that Medicaid expansion could have on law enforcement, local taxpayers, and Kansans grappling with mental health issues or addiction.

“The costs to provide medical and behavioral health care to incarcerated persons continue to rise dramatically,” Major Tim Phelps, Administrative Deputy Director, Shawnee County Department of Corrections said. “Citizens who have access to care in the community, in the detention center, and again when they return to the community have the best chance of stabilizing and becoming successful neighbors. The state and county governments working together to improve the availability of health care – particularly behavioral health care – is necessary for the safety and welfare of all Kansas citizens.”

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