With Kansans set to elect a new governor the issue of Medicaid expansion should be front and center. Here is part of a Topeka Capital-Journal recent editorial which I quote:

Thirty-two states have now expanded Medicaid, allowing citizens struggling to make ends meet to get extra help with the cost of healthcare. Seventeen of those states had Republican-controlled legislatures, seventeen have Republican governors. Governments in those states have realized that Medicaid expansion is not a partisan issue.

It just makes sense for states like Kansas.

Expanding Medicaid in Kansas would mean offering benefits for an additional 150,000 low-income Kansans who make too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to be eligible for financial assistance to buy private health insurance.

Opponents complain that some of these Kansans are able-bodied and choosing not to work and those with no income already qualify for support.

It’s the working poor who too often fall between the cracks. Hearing the stories of those impacted by lack of Medicaid coverage points to the complexity of their situations. They are students, people working very low-wage jobs, people unable to find affordable childcare and people with physical or mental illness that fall just short of the standards to qualify for disability.

With 90 percent of the costs covered by the federal government, an expansion would allow an influx of much-needed resources into Kansas hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The Kansas legislature did the right thing last year by passing Medicaid expansion, which was vetoed by then-governor Sam Brownback.

The editorial then says: If our elected leaders are unwilling or unable to expand Medicaid, Kansas should consider taking the campaign directly to the ballot box.

          Unfortunately, my sources tell me Kansas doesn’t allow for Referendums, so while Maine passed expanded Medicaid with a 59% margin and several other states will be voting in November that won’t happen in Kansas meaning we need to elect officials who support expanding Medicaid.

The editorial concludes with: Kansans have repeatedly shown support for expansion in large margins. Multiple polls have shown more than 75 percent of Kansas voters support expanding KanCare.

Our failure to expand KanCare has left billions of our tax dollars in the hands of the federal government, but we have an opportunity to change course.

          Well said!

          I’m Steve Sauder

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