By Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP

As the state of Missouri has resolved to move toward Medicaid expansion, it will join a club that comprises roughly two-thirds of the United States that has opted for a similar direction for its citizens. Passing expansion in the state of Kansas will be a challenge but it’s worth the fight.

As a community health center, our mission is to serve the underserved. We accept and see patients who usually have limited options for quality care. We are the only such organization in Johnson, Miami and Franklin counties. It is our mission to care for these people, and that is what we will do.

We cannot do it alone, however. That is the reason for the “Partnership” in Health Partnership. Collaborating with other organizations opens more opportunities and enhances quality and access for our patients. A question then would be: Is there an opportunity to partner with society? Will the general citizenry of Kansas, and ultimately their elected officials, enter a partnership with Health Partnership and other like organizations?

“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members,” was once stated by Mahatma Gandhi. Serving the vulnerable and underserved, and the least amongst us, has always been a hallmark of a noble life lived. How we treat others, and the relationships we develop is what we have been told time and time again is what truly adds quality to life.

Medicaid expansion is a way each and every one of us can do so, but together. This initiative would allow each of us to help those less fortunate without attending a single fundraiser, without sacrificing extra money or time, without even having to exert physical energy of travel or standing long hours in a soup kitchen. Not only that, but what we all have an opportunity to do will benefit not those who are around today, but also those who are not yet born. What we have an opportunity to do will benefit generations to come. Also, more health care coverage for families will alter the trajectory of those children toward more education, less entanglement in the criminal justice system, more productive future adults and more tax revenue for the great state of Kansas.

As a community health center, Medicaid expansion provides more robust services for the person suffering depression, larger and more skilled teams for a patient with a rare medical condition, more timely specialist care for someone who needs an urgent surgery, more support services instead of prescribing narcotics, more attention to that mother who is interested in getting pregnant and more care for that child who is struggling in school.

At Health Partnership, we want to partner with you, the citizens of the great state of Kansas. We want to work with you. We want to stand with you to take care of you. Medicaid expansion will allow us to do that.

Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP, is chief health officer and a family physician at Health Partnership Clinic