The latest round of Kansas state budget cuts will hit the state’s Medicaid fund hard.
The government program that provides medical service to the state’s poorest residents will not only see $57 million in cuts, those cuts will also lead to the loss of $72 million in matching federal funds.
Experts said they hope the cuts don’t lead to cuts in patient care.
“It’s too early to tell,” said Kari Bruffett of the Kansas Health Institute.
Bruffett, who used to lead the Brownback administration’s aging and disability agency, said the state will cut the money it pays to Medicaid providers by 4 percent. That means the payments to the managed care companies, not the patients, will be reduced.
Bruffett said the private companies will have to stretch the reduced money to cover the Medicaid patients.
“So that the network remains adequate so people have access to the hospitals, the doctors and other providers,” she said.
Another health care complication, the University of Kansas Medical Center is getting a nearly $4 million cut as part of a larger reduction to the state’s public colleges and universities.
More cuts might be coming, depending on whether the Kansas Supreme Court orders the state to provide more funding to public schools.
Providing medical care in Kansas is almost 20 percent of the entire state budget, so health care is a likely target whenever cuts are made.