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Kansas Governor Pushes Medicaid Expansion as Way to Help Address Mental Health Issues

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) – Governor Laura Kelly wants to expand Medicaid because she says the state’s mental health performance is “pathetic.” A nationwide report recently ranked Kansas last in the country for access to mental health services.

Kelly says Kansas taxpayers are already paying into Medicaid but not getting the benefits without expansion. “Simply put, we do not currently have resources to treat them without the billions of dollars – our own taxpayers’ dollars – we are currently leaving behind in Washington D.C.,” she said.

The group Mental Health America ranked Kansas last in the country in access to mental health care. “As a country, we are at a crisis point when it comes to mental health,” Kelly said. She wants to see the state expand Medicaid so more Kansans can afford mental health services.

She also called for better funding of mental health services in schools. Kelly has tried and failed to push expansion in the past. Republican leaders in the Statehouse oppose it.

The Legislature is considering other proposals that address mental health, like a bill adding money for youth crisis centers. Lawmakers could approve that plan in the coming weeks.