By Tim Carpenter | Jan. 8, 2020

OLATHE — Carolyn Thomas chose not to seek emergency care for a serious hip injury to avoid the burden of a staggering medical bill.

Her inability to walk eventually cost her a job with access to health insurance benefits, dropping the caregiver of her deceased son’s four children into a precarious fight for survival. She eventually qualified for disability benefits under KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

“I’m grateful to God that I did not lose my home,” Thomas said. “It was a very harsh struggle.”

Thomas said there was reason to be optimistic the 2020 Legislature and Gov. Laura Kelly would follow collaborative impulses to pass a bipartisan bill expanding Medicaid eligibility for 130,000 to 150,000 low-income Kansas adults and children who don’t financially qualify for Medicaid or cannot afford private health insurance. State lawmakers have an opportunity to consider in January at least three options for deepening access to Medicaid, with the objective to become the 37th state to make use of Affordable Care Act provisions available since 2014.

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