Kansas health advocates, consumers, local government and business leaders have gathered forces this legislative session to issue a strong call for expansion of KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program. During the week of January 6-10, 2017, the House Health and Human Services Committee will hold hearings on three days to consider House Bill 2064, a KanCare expansion bill. For the past three years, the REACH Foundation has made closing the coverage gap its top policy priority for Kansas and Missouri.
Kansas has the opportunity to expand KanCare, the name for our state’s Medicaid program. Like the 31 states that have so far expanded their programs since 2014, Kansas stands to gain a lot by expanding KanCare.
Nearly 150,000 Kansans are unable to secure health coverage because restrictive state Medicaid eligibility guidelines put them in the gap — without affordable coverage options and unable to secure subsidies to purchase insurance through the health insurance marketplace. Medicaid offers access to a comprehensive set of benefits; provides financial support for hospitals and health providers that provide care to the uninsured; and brings important federal resources to the state, drawing on Kansas’ own federal tax dollars. To date 31 states have moved forward on expanding Medicaid, drawing down enhanced federal matching dollars to support their own approach. Medicaid expansion represents an investment in a healthy workforce and a vibrant economy. Read testimony submitted by REACH President and CEO Brenda Sharpe.