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Kansas Policy Agenda

To achieve the foundation's mission, we believe it is essential to invest in advocacy and public policy activities and to engage more directly as an organization on specific state and federal policy issues that present the opportunity to improve access to health coverage and strengthen the health care safety net.

Close the Coverage Gap

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The REACH Foundation supports expansion of KanCare, the state Medicaid program, to close the coverage gap that affects thousands of low-income, working adults and families in Kansas.

  • State Medicaid rules have kept nearly 150,000 Kansans in the coverage gap – without coverage options and unable to secure subsidies through the health insurance marketplace.
  • To date, Kansas has forfeited more than $2.1 billion in Medicaid matching federal resources – tax dollars paid by Kansans that would fuel the state’s economy and provide financial assistance to hospitals and health and mental health systems that provide care to those who are uninsured.
  • Despite efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Congress has not come to an agreement on health reform. The Governor and Legislature should ensure Kansans can access the same resources available in 33 other states.

Expand the Oral Health Workforce

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The REACH Foundation supports the dental therapist model as a practical and proven solution for improving access to dental care for underserved people.

  • Kansas’ dental workforce is unable to meet the demand for oral health care, particularly among chidren, seniors and other vulnerable populations. Access to care increases when dentists are authorized to hire mid-level providers, particularly in the safety net health care system and in rural areas.
  • More than a dozen states with similar challenges have passed or are pursuing legislation to allow dentist to hire dental therapists as a cost effective model to address needs in their communities.
  • Dental therapy is an approved practice, with accreditation standards set by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), which accredits all education programs for dentists and hygienists.

Enact Fiscal Policies that Help Kansans Thrive

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The REACH Foundation urges elected leaders to establish budget and tax policies that will protect core services and stabilize the state’s financial outlook.

  • Kansas lawmakers took an important step in 2017 toward reversing tax policies that resulted in significant revenue losses and cuts to critical public services, including mental health, public health and prevention, children and family services, corrections and public safety. While this step has pointed Kansas in a more positive direction, much work remains to stabilize the budget.
  • The 2018 Legislature should build upon the progress made and restore adequate funding and administrative support and increase oversight for essential safety net services that allow families and communities to thrive.

Missouri Policy Agenda

REACH supports the work of our Missouri advocacy partners and develops an annual policy agenda to guide the foundation's engagement on state and federal policy issues that present the opportunity to improve access to health coverage and strengthen the health care safety net.

Enact Fiscal Policies That Help Missourians Thrive

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The REACH Foundation urges lawmakers to revise state tax policies to ensure adequate revenues are invested in core services and programs that help Missouri workers and families thrive.

  • Missouri’s tax policies are not producing adequate revenue to meet basic public needs, as seen with budget decisions that resulted in cuts to services for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
  • Lawmakers have the opportunity to revisit tax policies, such as the business income tax exemption that, once triggered, will contribute to further destabilization of revenues.
  • Our neighbors in Kansas enacted similar tax policies that led to devastating cuts to education, health and transportation. These failed policies are now being reversed with bipartisan support.

Close the Coverage Gap

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The REACH Foundation supports the expansion of Medicaid to close the health coverage gap that affects thousands of low-income, working adults and families in Missouri.

  • Nearly 300,000 Missourians are left out of health coverage because state leaders have declined to expand Medicaid, forfeiting billions in federal resources that could support health, mental health and oral health care throughout the state.
  • Adults without children cannot qualify for Medicaid in Missouri. For adults with children, eligibility stops at 22% of the federal poverty level — the third lowest rate in the nation.
  • Federal Medicaid resources have contributed substantially to the funding of mental health services in Missouri. As lawmakers grapple with the state’s mental health care needs and rising rates of substance abuse, Medicaid expansion presents an opportunity to leverage additional resources to support treatment and other programs.
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