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President's Perspective – New Survey Reiterates Bipartisan Support for KanCare Expansion

KanCare (Feb. 11, 2022) – A new statewide survey, sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, finds nearly 8 in 10 Kansas voters (78 percent) support expanding KanCare, the state's Medicaid program, so more low-wage Kansans can qualify for health coverage. Kansas is one of 12 states nationwide that has not expanded its Medicaid program, leaving thousands of residents with limited health insurance options.

The survey also found many Kansans are worried about rising prices for food, gas, and living expenses. Many have sizeable medical debt. Nine in 10 (89 percent) of those polled said they are concerned about health care costs. Eighty-two percent agreed that expanding KanCare will help protect Kansas families from incurring medical debt during these difficult times. With costs rising, Kansans are paying more to provide for themselves and their families. Health care is no exception. This research shows Kansans are looking for ways to keep costs in check and demanding that legislators take steps to expand KanCare. Now is the time to invest in our state and ensure Kansans have access to the care they need when they need it. While there are many steps in the legislative process for a bill to become law, the first step occurred this week when legislation was introduced to expand the KanCare program. We will keep you updated on any activity on this legislation.

Keep these talking points in mind when you discuss expansion with your legislators and the public.

  • KanCare is a health insurance program for low-income children, pregnant women, seniors and people with disabilities.
  • It covers doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, mental health care and other basic services.
  • In Kansas, there are strict limits on who currently qualifies. For example, an uninsured parent in a family of three earning more than $8,345 annually don't qualify, while single adults without children are not eligible at all.
  • Expanding KanCare would allow single adults and parents earning more than $8,345 a year to qualify for coverage.
  • Expanding KanCare would immediately make 150,000 low-wage Kansans eligible for affordable health insurance.

The statewide survey, conducted in December 2021, shows support for expanding KanCare is statewide and spans political parties, including:

  • 85 percent of people in urban communities, 79 percent of residents in suburban areas, 76 percent of residents of small towns and 73 percent of people in rural areas.
  • 96 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of Independents and 65 percent of Republicans.

According to a report from The Commonwealth Fund, KanCare expansion would add nearly 23,000 new jobs to the state's economy and increase economic output by $17 billion. In fact, neighboring states of Oklahoma and Missouri expanded Medicaid last year, meaning every state bordering Kansas has now expanded Medicaid. Expanding KanCare will ensure Kansas stays competitive. Expansion will increase the health of our workforce, strengthen our business and enhance our competitiveness in keeping Kansas a great place to live, work and raise a family.

As we continue to engage our elected officials, it is important to highlight the value of expanding KanCare and its impact on our local community members, businesses and the health care delivery system. A new messaging resource and messaging calendar are available, and we encourage our members to use these resources to promote KanCare expansion. Thank you in advance for all of your efforts on our advocacy initiatives!
--Chad Austin