Substance use disorder, including opioid addiction, is a growing problem in Kansas. More than one-third of the 150,000 Kansans in the coverage gap have suffered from substance use disorder and/or mental health issues in the past year. That’s why the discussion happening at the Governor’s Task Force to Address Substance Use Disorders is so timely and critical.

The Task Force is scheduled to present recommendations to Gov. Colyer in early September, but Dr. Greg Lakin, the Task Force chairman, has banned the committee from discussing KanCare expansion as a part of the solution.

Dr. Lakin has gone as far as to prohibit a recommendation for KanCare expansion be included in the Task Force’s final report and has scrubbed any mention of expansion from the committee’s official minutes. This is not how a legitimate blue-ribbon panel is meant to operate. We cannot let this whitewashing of the public record stand.

That’s why we need your help. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is accepting public comments to the Substance Use Task Force with the deadline on August 9. Comments may be submitted one of two ways:

  1. Via email to chouchen@khi.org; OR
  2. Via mail or delivery to the Kansas Health Institute, Attn: Carlie Houchen, 212 SW 8th Ave, Topeka, KS 66211.

In your comments, please indicate which of the following topics your testimony pertains to:

  • Provider Education
  • Prevention
  • Treatment & Recovery
  • Law Enforcement
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
  • Other

As addiction continues to affect so many in our state, we can’t take solutions like expanding KanCare off the table. Making health care readily available to thousands of Kansans struggling with substance use will go further, faster to address this crisis than anything else.

Dr. Lakin and Governor Colyer need to know that we won’t let petty politics stand in the way of doing what’s right for Kansans. Tell them that expanding KanCare is the best way to address the crisis of substance use disorder and opioid addiction.

Please add your own thoughts to the following statement and submit via email or mail to the addresses above:

Dr. Lakin and Members of the Governor’s Task Force to Address Substance Use Disorders,

As a Kansan concerned about the growing epidemic of substance use disorder and opioid addiction, I urge you to include expanding KanCare as a key recommendation in your final report to the governor. KanCare expansion will greatly enhance access to care and payment for the treatment and recovery services necessary to address these devastating disorders. Many other states, including those hardest hit by this epidemic, rely on Medicaid expansion as a key element in their overall approach to the problem. We insist that the Task Force discussions of KanCare expansion be truthfully reproduced in the official minutes of the proceedings and that the final report accurately reflects the support of committee members for expansion.