With Medicaid “continuous coverage” ending soon, many Kansans may lose access to care

TOPEKA — With federal “continuing coverage” of Medicaid protection ending, thousands of Kansans are expected to be dropped from Medicaid programs in the coming months.

While President Joe Biden is expected to extend the issued public health emergency for COVID-19, which allowed for health-related measures and a policy of continued coverage, states will no longer have to continue to provide Medicaid coverage. This is due to congressional approval of the December 2022 spending package that Biden signed. The package allows states to begin redefining Medicaid eligibility in April for the first time in three years.

Remove Medicaid

The process will be long, said Sarah Fertig, director of the state Medicaid program, and estimates that 525,000 Kansans are currently enrolled on Medicaid, with about 115,000 more users than usual.

This is amazing The increase in users has been attributed For pandemic-era federal protection, which says KanCare cannot terminate Medicaid eligibility unless the person involved moves away, dies, or requests an end to coverage.

“We expect quite a few to be removed,” Fertig said in an overview of the situation Wednesday before the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.

There has been pressure to expand Medicaid from lawmakers, including Gov. Laura Kelly, with the issue expected to be brought up during the legislative session. Thirty-eight states have implemented Medicaid expansion or approved expansion measures, including Missouri, Colorado and Nebraska.

“We’ve delayed making eligibility recertifications for large segments of our population for nearly three years now; we’re going to resume them,” Fertig said. They will no longer be eligible. They will fall off the lists.”

Her department is finalizing plans to determine Medicaid eligibility, in an effort to make the transition smoother. These plans will be submitted for review in February.

Other priorities for 2023 for Kansas Medicaid include improving maternal health and shifting Medicaid authority away from the federal government. Fertig said they are working to strengthen the authority of state Medicare to create more freedom with Medicare programs and the state’s investments in health.

Fertig said she and other health officials will also focus on prenatal care and better health outcomes for Kansas moms. Because of recent policy changes, Medicaid coverage for postpartum women has been extended, from two months of postpartum coverage to 12 months postpartum coverage.

“Now that we have a policy change, we’re looking at ways to make a bigger impact on maternal mortality and morbidity in Kansas,” she said.

Some of the possibilities explored include early access to medical care during pregnancy, as well as dulcimer assistance in childbirth.

Vaccination against COVID-19 disease

During the committee meeting, lawmakers also questioned health officials about the effectiveness COVID-19 Vaccine.

Republican Senator Mark Stephenwho introduced legislation that would ease COVID-19 vaccination requirements, asked Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Janet Stanek if she and other health officials learned anything from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stephen mentioned Kansas Pandemic and Infectious Disease Plan, which determines the country’s preparations for future outbreaks of infectious diseases. He said parts of the plan, such as addressing misinformation and working with the media, as well as vaccine evaluations, were fringe issues that violated First Amendment rights.

“My question is, where have you all basically followed the CDC down the path of confusion and chaos with the COVID response, did we learn anything from that, and is it reflected in that very long document?” Stephen said.

Stanek said she stuck to the plan, and a lot of effort and care went into its production.

Republican Sen. Mike Thompson said he believes COVID-19 vaccines are “very dangerous,” and he doesn’t think the vaccines should be required for medical transplant patients.

“During the pandemic, the CDC set the standards, and now suddenly this information has been published that makes it very clear, they weren’t aware of the efficacy and risks of vaccines,” Thompson said.

Then Steffen Stanek asked if KDHE still considered the COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective, saying there have been cases of myocarditis associated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Stanek confirmed the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We know that there are always categories of people who in any case have a vaccine that could have an adverse reaction,” Stanek said. “I’m not here to illustrate medical expertise, but based on our guidance with the Centers for Disease Control and recommendations from the medical community.”

Stephen and Thompson ft Legislation that would require exempt Places such as child care facilities, primary and secondary schools, and post-secondary education institutions from vaccination requirements, without inquiring as to why an exemption is sought.

The legislation would also eliminate the requirement to have the meningitis vaccine in order to live in student housing, according to the bill’s summary.

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