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Brownback’s Kansas Budget Plan Relies on Federal Health Insurance Funds

Photo by Stephen Koranda

Governor Sam Brownback’s administration has made $63 million in adjustments to the Kansas budget. The changes will boost the state savings account to help avoid a deficit next year. The largest change is in SCHIP, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The federal government is increasing its funding for the low-cost health insurance program, so Kansas is using that money to offset $17 million in state funding. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says moves like this save money without cutting services.
“We really tried to take the line here of trying to minimize, as much as possible, the impact this would have on Kansans,” says Sullivan.
Sullivan says if they weren’t offsetting state dollars with the federal money, they could have instead expanded services under the program. Democratic state Senator Anthony Hensley says that would have been a better use of the federal funding.
“What the governor’s proposed here is to balance the state budget on the backs of children and families that don’t have health insurance,” says Hensley.
Hensley believes these moves won’t fix the state’s budget issues.

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