On the eve of Election Day, we wanted to remind candidates and elected officials that, we, their constituents understand why they run for office — to improve our lives. Below is a letter that we sent to let them know that KanCare is the solution to improving the lives of Kansans across the state.
We know that you and other candidates running for office are motivated by a common interest in improving the lives of Kansans. More than 150,000 Kansans, our family, friends, and neighbors, currently fall into a health coverage gap. They earn too much to qualify for KanCare but too little to be eligible for financial help to buy private insurance. These hard working men and women are left with few options for affordable health coverage.
Why is this important? Because the absence of insurance coverage is hazardous to their health and that impacts all Kansans. The uninsured receive less preventive care, are more severely ill when diagnosed, and receive less therapeutic care and fewer medications after diagnosis than those with coverage. They’re more likely to have chronic illnesses and less likely to have those illnesses under control. Those who are uninsured and suffer from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or any number of other diseases have a higher rate of disability and death than those with the same illnesses who have insurance coverage. And these health-related data don’t begin to address the financial implications of being uninsured, from increased risk of debt and bankruptcy to diminished employment productivity. To put it simply, those without insurance are sicker, poorer, and more likely to die than the rest of us.
In July, the Hutchinson News reported the story of Brenda Brown’s mother, who was uninsured for about three years because she fell into the coverage gap. As a result, despite not feeling well, she delayed care until she was old enough to qualify for Medicare. But it was too late. When she finally received a long overdue mammogram, doctors discovered that she had stage four breast cancer, and is now terminal.
Expanding KanCare would have covered Brown’s mother, allowing her to receive the routine and preventive care that may have saved her life. Her story is not unique; as we’ve traveled throughout Kansas, we’ve heard countless stories of uninsured Kansans like her, who delayed care and have suffered as a result.
Expanding KanCare will increase access to primary and preventive care, improve health, and reduce costs. It is a fiscally responsible Kansas-based solution that will bring hundreds of millions of our federal tax dollars back home and create jobs, boost the economy, protect hospitals and clinics, and improve the health of Kansans.
The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas Steering Committee