2023 Policy Priorities Reflect Equity Goals

January 30, 2023

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The REACH Foundation each year develops policy agendas for Kansas and Missouri that align with the foundation’s mission to advance health equity in health coverage, access and quality care.

REACH’s approach to policy and advocacy includes funding for nonpartisan policy research, community education, and voter engagement and action, as well as our own direct engagement and advocacy on initiatives that would yield substantial improvement in health.

Because health care access and affordability are building blocks for better health, eligibility for Medicaid — the primary source of coverage for lower-wage Americans — remains a policy priority for REACH. Missouri adopted Medicaid expansion in 2020 but is still working on needed improvements in the application and renewal processes. In addition, REACH is following the lead of Missouri advocacy organizations that are calling for extension of Medicaid coverage for mothers from 60 days to 12 months postpartum and 12-month continuous eligibility for children’s Medicaid and CHIP — both life-saving and cost-saving measures.

Kansas lawmakers have held firm on declining to expand KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program. Kansas is one of 11 states that have declined federal resources to provide coverage to low-income adults — limiting opportunities to strengthen people’s health and the economic vitality of the state. Despite legislators’ opposition, there is growing support among businesses and voters for a health care coverage solution. REACH partners with business organizations and coalitions such as the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, as well as community health, behavioral health and hospital groups that are urging lawmakers to tap the available federal resources to improve health across the state.

Other areas of interest include:

  • Reinvestment in the public health infrastructure and capacity in Kansas and Missouri, including attention to workforce shortages, health data collection and monitoring, and adequate funding.
  • Pathways to expanded use of telehealth, which grew in its use and acceptance as a result of the pandemic;
  • Budget and tax policies that preserve core services and help workers and families thrive;
  • Rules and procedures that strengthen and uphold voter rights and protections, eliminating barriers to voter participation.

The foundation’s policy agendas are defined by our mission and outcome investment priorities, and informed by our nonprofit advocacy and health partners. Working together with these regional leaders, equity-centered systems changes are better able to be achieved.

Read about our policy priorities and help keep us informed on opportunities and challenges.


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