Topeka — Nonprofit health care clinics would provide prescription drugs to low-income patients and the state would encourage other Kansans to participate in a drug industry discount program under a proposal unveiled today by Senate Republican leaders.
The new GOP proposal would cost the state only about $750,000 annually and doesn't require raising taxes. In contrast, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has proposed a $50 million health care package, which she would finance by increasing tobacco taxes.
Sebelius' plan would expand state and private health coverage for as many as 100,000 uninsured Kansans. The plan offered Tuesday by Senate Republicans focuses on making prescription drugs more affordable and encouraging the use of health savings accounts, in which individuals set aside money for health care costs.
Low-cost drugs would be made available to Kansans at nine clinics throughout the state. The state would also promote a program announced earlier this month by 10 pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide drug discounts.
Senate Republican leaders contend Sebelius' proposal would be too expensive because it would expand the Medicaid program, which is financed by the state and federal government, to cover an additional 30,000 low-income adults. They also said tobacco tax revenues would likely drop slightly over time, as people quick smoking because of the cost.