By Chris Owens | March 14, 2019
For several years, health advocates, business leaders, and others – including thousands of Kansans – have worked to expand KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program. KanCare expansion would provide affordable health insurance coverage to 150,000 Kansans who are caught in a cruel coverage gap – they earn too much to be eligible for the current KanCare program but not enough to qualify for financial assistance to buy private coverage. Polls show that 77 percent of Kansans support this policy.
The opportunity to expand KanCare is before us again. Bills have been introduced in both the Kansas House and Senate to adopt this policy and finally provide better health coverage to tens of thousands of Kansans in need.
Unfortunately, some legislators and special interest groups oppose this legislation based, in part, on the false premise that Kansans with disabilities would be harmed if Medicaid is expanded. They point to waiting lists for home and community-based (HCBS) waiver services and suggest that KanCare expansion would somehow crowd out the state’s ability to fund these services for Kansans with disabilities.