Legislative Update
Governor Plans to Tie Medicaid Expansion to Medical Marijuana

On Monday, Feb. 1, Governor Kelly announced a new plan to expand Medicaid (KanCare) and pay for it by legalizing medical marijuana. If passed, the legislation would provide health insurance to an estimated 165,000 Kansans and make Kansas the 48th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana.

The proposed legislation, which has yet to be introduced in the Legislature and assigned a bill number(s), would be similar to the bi-partisan Medicaid expansion legislation from 2020 with the following exceptions:

  • The re-insurance program has been removed;
  • The Medicaid Expansion Surcharge paid by Kansas hospitals to offset the state general fund costs of expanding Medicaid has been removed;
  • In place of these two programs as expansion “pay-fors,” a proposed medical marijuana bill has been inserted; and,
  • This bill is modeled after Ohio’s framework and similar to the bill that has been proposed by House Republicans.

According to the Governor, the revenue generated by legalizing medical marijuana would more than pay for the state cost of expanding KanCare.

The Governor continues to hold Medicaid expansion as one of her top policy priorities and expressed a hope that the ability to cover the cost of expansion with revenue from medical marijuana would take away a common argument against expansion.

The legislation faces a steep challenge in the 2021 Legislature. While support for medical marijuana has grown, House and Senate GOP leaders remain staunchly opposed to expanding Medicaid and do not plan to hold hearings on the issue this session. They have also said they will be careful about allowing any bill that has subject matter amenable to a Medicaid expansion amendment to be taken up in chamber debate.

While the governor announced this as a package, the Legislature has strict procedures for mixing multiple subjects in one bill. If the legislation were to be considered by the Legislature, they would require two separate bills for the two policy pieces.
Professional Licensure Bill Amended

KAFP has been working with the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee to ensure that a bill relaxing professional licensure standards would be amended to ensure strong licensure standards for the practice of medicine are not compromised.

Earlier in the session, KAFP entered legislative testimony opposing HB 2066, a bill that would expand provisions in state law related to expedited licensure for military service members and their spouses, to include all out of state applicants. KAFP opposed the expansion primarily due to the bill’s striking of language that a licensing body authorize licensure based on standards that “are equivalent to” and amending to say “a similar scope of practice.”

While the bill required an “essentially equivalent” standard for all professions regulated by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, it applied a “similar scope of practice” to all other health care professions.

Last week KAFP sent a communication to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Croft (R-Overland Park), stating the following:

KAFP urges “HB 2066 be amended to include the Board of Nursing and other health care professions in the Board of Healing Arts section of the bill. We believe the nature of medical practice and health care delivery sets it apart from other professions in HB 2066 and should, therefore, require a higher standard for scope of practice.”

In committee action on Monday, Rep. Croft responded by offering an amendment clarifying that the scope of practice provided in Kansas law was to apply to all applicants under the bill. The original bill left open the opportunity for a scope determined by an applicant’s originating state’s licensure. The bill, as amended, passed the committee favorably and will move on for debate in the full House.

Late last week, SB 137 was introduced and is nearly identical to the original HB 2066. KAFP plans to work the same way with the Senate Commerce Committee to ensure the practice of medicine remains securely regulated in Kansas.
Family Doctor of the Day

KAFP is again sponsoring the Family Doctor of the Day (FDOD) program during the Kansas legislative session. Licensed physicians, including residents, volunteer to provide mostly-minor health needs to legislators and their staff. The Legislature highly values and appreciates access to these services, especially when so many are away from their hometown primary care physicians.

We want to thank the following for their service to legislators and Capitol staff members last week: Dr. Doug Iliff, Topeka; and Dr. Sheryl Beard, Andover. Your time and efforts are so appreciated!
Bills We’re Monitoring

SB 10 – Enacting the right to earn a living act to minimize unnecessary occupational licensing and regulation. *KAFP opposes
Status: Hearing in S-Commerce on 1/27

SB 14 – An act concerning governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas; extends deadline to March 31, 2021
Status: Passed Senate 34-1; Passed House 119-3; Signed by Governor

SB 92 – Creating the Kansas equal access act to authorize the use of medical marijuana
Status: Referred separately to S-Public Health & Welfare and S-Fed & State Affairs

HB 2061 Increasing the minimum age to purchase or possess cigarettes and tobacco products from 18 to 21, and prohibiting cigarette vending machines and flavored vaping products *KAFP supports
Status: Referred to H-Federal & State Affairs
HB 2066 – Expanding the military spouse and servicemember's expedited licensure law to all applicants who have established or intend to establish residency in Kansas, providing for the practice of telemedicine by out-of-state physicians, permitting the issuance of temporary licenses in emergencies and the use of electronic credentials (defers to state of license origination) *KAFP opposed, before amendment; now neutral
Status: Passed H-Commerce, with amendments

HB 2129 – Providing for tobacco cessation benefits coverage under the state health care benefits program
Status: Referred to S-Insurance & Pensions

HB 2157 – Establishing restrictions on the use of step therapy protocols by health insurance plans
Status: Hearing in H-Health & Human Services on 2/3
HB 2158 – Making permanent provisions for the advisory committee on trauma and the statewide trauma system regional council to conduct closed meetings and keep privileged records regarding trauma cases
Status: Hearing in H-Financial Institutions & Rural Dev on 2/10

HB 2174 – Establishing the rural hospital innovation grant program to assist rural hospitals in serving rural communities
Status: Hearing in H-Appropriations on 2/10
HB 2184 – Creating the Kansas medical marijuana regulation act
Status: Referred to H-Federal & State Affairs
HB 2206 – Updating certain definitions, referral to specialty services and coordination of care provisions in the Kansas telemedicine act
Status: Hearing in H-Health & Human Services on 2/9
HB 2210 – Making it a crime for a doctor to perform gender reassignment surgery or hormone replacement therapy on minors
Status: Referred to H-Health & Human Services

*Note: Bills were introduced this past week that would expand the scope of practice for APRNs and pharmacists into the practice of medicine, but bills and bill numbers are not yet available for these.
Legislative Committee Calendar, Week of Feb. 8, 2021

Please note, the calendar is subject to change. Although public attendance at committee meetings is limited, legislative committees and floor debates are live-streamed and can be accessed at www.kslegislature.org.

Wed, Feb 10
9:00 am, H-Appropriations
Hearing on:
HB 2174 – Establishing the rural hospital innovation grant program to assist rural hospitals in serving rural communities
9:00 am, H-Financial Institutions & Rural Development
Hearing on:
HB 2158 – Making permanent provisions for the advisory committee on trauma and the statewide trauma system regional council to conduct closed meetings and keep privileged records regarding trauma cases