Brownback, Colyer, Schmidt blast federal health reform

Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general say they will fight the new federal health care law approved by Congress and President Barack Obama. "If fully enacted, the Obama Health Care plan would devastate the Kansas budget with unaffordable mandates, threatening every other priority in state government," a news release from gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback's campaign says. An independent study, however, shows that many Kansans will benefit under the new law.

Brownback, his lieutenant governor running mate, state Sen. Jeff Colyer of Overland Park, and GOP attorney general candidate state Sen. Derek Schmidt, of Independence, planned a news conference today at Brownback's campaign headquarters to discuss the federal health reform.

Earlier this year, a study projected that 200,000 Kansans who don't have health insurance now, will get it under the law.

With many of the major portions of the law taking effect in 2014, those getting insurance will do so through expansion of Medicaid, more large employee group policies and the new subsidized exchange markets, the report stated.

Total health care spending in Kansas, including state and federal government, employers and individuals, totals $13.418 billion per year. After the reforms take place, that total is expected to grow by about $150 million, or 1.1 percent, the report said.

The report notes that Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which were originally designed as “safety-net” programs, will become the largest source of coverage.

Federal spending is expected to increase by more than $800 million per year to take care of the new Medicaid enrollees, the report said.

Meanwhile, state government spending is expected to remain flat; large employers will spend slightly more while small employers will spend much less.

The report was funded by United Methodist Health Ministries and was done by independent actuarial schramm-raleigh Health Strategy, based on Scottsdale-Ariz.

By Scott Rothschild

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