The following is a statement by KHF President and CEO Steve Coen regarding the information contained in the Kansas Health Institute’s Annual Insurance Update.
Recently, the Kansas Health Institute released its Annual Insurance Update report, which this year contains reporting information from 2014. That year marked an important milestone in health insurance and health care for Kansas and our entire nation. It was the first year of full implementation of the insurance expansion provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Yet, even with this boost to the importance of coverage for all citizens, more than 300,000 Kansans remained uninsured. Some were uninsured due to not enrolling in programs for which they were already eligible. For some, it came down to financial difficulties that limited their ability to even buy insurance on healthcare.gov.
Most frustrating of all, though, is the group who would have insurance coverage if Kansas would have expanded Medicaid coverage as allowed by the ACA.
Currently, Kansas is one of 19 states which has yet to expand Medicaid, which could be done through our KanCare program. By failing to take advantage of this opportunity, our state foregoes the chance to improve both the health of our people and the health of our economy.
Though this expansion is just one way to grow closer to ensuring every Kansan has health coverage, it is a critical one. Expanding KanCare is a fiscally responsible way to create new jobs and grow the economy, help keep hospitals open, and provide 150,000 hardworking Kansans access to affordable healthcare coverage, while freeing up other dollars for schools and roads. It is a common sense step in the right direction that puts practicality over politics.
For those wanting to know more about joining an effort to affect change and improve health in Kansas, we invite you to visit www.expandkancare.com and learn about the steps being taken by the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas. At the Kansas Health Foundation, we believe by working together, we can bring this change to Kansas, and expand coverage for our family, friends and neighbors.
Every month, our electronic newsletter, Health Happenings, features a story about a focus area, grant, partnership or program involving the Foundation.