Lt. Governor promotes Medicaid expansion on hospital tour

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Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers is on a statewide tour to see how hospitals would be affected by Medicaid expansion. He was in Junction City touring Geary Community Hospital on Wednesday.

During the past two months he has consistently heard the same thing.

“I have not had a single hospital board or staff who have said that they don’t want to do it. They really see the impact,” said Rogers in regards of expansion.

In Geary county, estimates show more than 900 people could gain access to Medicaid if it was expanded. 

Terrah Stroda is a nurse at Geary Community Hospital. She said seven years ago the county had one of the worst infant mortality rates in the state. Now the rate has been cut in half. She said that’s thanks to getting eligible women on Medicaid, and she believes that if it was expanded it could help more women.

“An opportunity for our hospital to do more services, provide more healthcare to our moms and our babies, but also to serve our population in terms of becoming healthier overall,” said Stroda.

Many hospitals across the state are losing money when people without insurance come to get helped. 

“They don’t have any insurance coverage and they have to pay out of their own pockets and many cases that creates a problem for the hospitals and emergency rooms because we end up not being able to collect any dollars on that, but yet we have to fulfill our mission,” said Geary Community Hospital CEO Joe Stratton.

The lieutenant governor said he believes expansion could help fix that.

“As Kansans we’ve paid $3.2 billion to the federal government to pay for everybody else’s medical care, and we’re not spending it on ourselves,” said Rogers.

The lieutenant governor toured a hospital in Leavenworth later in the day, making it number 16 on his tour.

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