The cost and availability of healthcare have become a significant issue in Kansas.
The Brownback Administration's unwillingness to expand Medicaid has left many of our critical access facilities throughout the state in a difficult economic position. It's also sent a terrible message to the working poor: "If you need healthcare, quit your job."
The idea that we can either have high quality or low-cost healthcare for our citizens is a false choice.
There is a better way, and Medicaid expansion alone isn't the answer. One of the things that I've learned from my private sector experience is that incentives matter. We've privatized KanCare, but we don't treat the KanCare providers like private companies. Providers that serve customers better, getting better results at a lower cost, should be rewarded with more business. We also need to encourage better behaviors among KanCare recipients by creating incentives for people to stay healthy.
As an employer, I also realize that we need to reform our healthcare system in a way that delivers better results for less money. One primary reason wage growth has been stagnating is the increasing cost of employer provided healthcare. We can do better. The idea that we can either have high quality or low-cost healthcare for our citizens is a false choice. We can have both if we're thoughtful about how we approach healthcare in Kansas.