By Stuart Elliott (Contact)
To be delivered to: The Kansas State House, The Kansas State Senate, and Governor Sam Brownback
Far too many Kansans don't have health insurance. Already, seven Republican governors have agreed to accept the funds.
Right now Governor Brownback and the Kansas Legislature are threatening to give up federal funds that would cover more hard-working Kansans.
Currently, KanCare (Medicaid) eligibility in Kansas is one of the lowest in the country – roughly 32% of the federal poverty level (less than $6,000 a year for a family of 4).
The state of Kansas can raise its KanCare eligibility threshold to 133% of the federal poverty level (a little less than $31,000 a year for a family of 4) and federal funds will cover 100% of the cost for those newly eligible Kansans who enroll.
After the first three years, the proportion of federal dollars would be incrementally reduced to 90 percent. Kansas would never pay more than ten percent for this huge benefit to our state.
It is estimated that if Kansas accepts federal funds and extends KanCare to more Kansans, more than 100,000 would enroll. Most of these Kansans are currently uninsured.
Hospitals receive federal funding to compensate for the care that they provide to uninsured Kansans. A portion of that federal funding will be phased out over time. If Kansas does not accept federal funds to extend KanCare to more uninsured Kansans, hospitals will have to cover the shortfall themselves.
Moreover, if the state does not accept these federal funds, many Kansans will have no other affordable health insurance option available to them. These Kansans cannot afford health coverage in the private market and under current eligibility guidelines in Kansas they aren’t currently eligible for KanCare.
Without affordable health insurance options, many hard-working, low-income Kansans and their families are falling through the cracks. They do not receive the medical care they need, and they cannot access the preventive care necessary to catch illness before it worsens. This leads to more expensive treatment, amputation, and even early death.
The health, well-being, and quality of life of these uninsured and underinsured Kansans matter. Their inability to access the health care they need affects all of us - our communities, workforce and families.
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