From the President and CEO: Time to Address Coverage Gap

April 30, 2015  |  Message from the CEO

From the President and CEO

April 28, 2015

The Kansas Legislature is nearing the wrap-up of the 2015 legislative session, so time is running out on advancing a solution this year for the state’s health care coverage gap. This week, I am sending a note to legislators in the REACH Foundation’s service area asking them to invest in the health of our state by supporting the expansion of KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

I understand this topic is a difficult one for many legislators, but there is a strong health and business case to be made for expanding Medicaid. Access to health care enables Kansans to work, manage their health and take care of their families. Healthy workers are more productive, and better able to pursue and keep jobs. In addition, health coverage provides a measure of protection from financial stress and ruin when an unexpected health problem occurs.

More and more states that opposed Medicaid expansion have taken a second look at this option. The federal match rates are strong — 90 cents federal match for the state’s 10-cent contribution. While some state leaders maintain that the federal match money is not reliable, Kansas routinely accepts federal matching dollars for education, transportation, energy and more. Furthermore, HHS has shown a willingness to consider state-specific proposals for closing the coverage gap. At least six states have obtained approval for their own unique approaches. It is time for Kansas to do the same.

Philanthropy, charity care and the increasingly strained safety net cannot fill the gap that leaves thousands of Kansas and Missouri residents without options for health insurance. While some lawmakers believe that charity is the answer, this situation demands a systems solution.

Read the CEO Message: Time for States to Address Health Coverage Gap