VOyage kc: Exploring Life & Business with April Holman of Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
December 19, 2022
Today we’d like to introduce you to April Holman.
Hi April, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I have an undergraduate degree in history and political science, which is not necessarily a direct pathway to employment. Law school seemed like a logical next step but after enrolling it didn’t take long for me to realize that the traditional practice of law was not for me. Since I am too stubborn to quit something that I have started, I stuck it out and finished the degree. Although I have been licensed as an attorney in Kansas for twenty-five years, I have never practiced traditional law.
Instead, I have been drawn to improving public policy for under-represented individuals and families. This has involved work as a legislative staffer, family economic security advocate, advocate for investments in early childhood education, a supporter of long-term care executives, and my current role advocating for increased access to affordable health care through KanCare expansion. The common thread between all of these roles is that they fulfilled a deep need in me to do good in whatever way I can.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
When my youngest children were in Kindergarten I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Thankfully, I had health insurance through my husband’s employer and was able to get diagnosed and quickly into treatment at a top-notch facility in Kansas. It was a very difficult time for my family and me, but I was fortunate. My boys will graduate from high school in a year and other than annual check-ups the cancer is squarely in my past.
However, too many people in Kansas fall into a coverage gap where they don’t have an option for affordable health insurance and they struggle to access the health care and treatment they need. For me, the fight to expand eligibility for KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program, is personal. I want every adult in Kansas to have the same access to health care that saved me, regardless of how much money they earn or whether their employer is able to provide insurance.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Alliance for a Healthy Kansas?
The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas is a statewide coalition working throughout Kansas, encouraging people and organizations to promote policies that ensure everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Our membership is wide-ranging and includes more than 125 organizations, including business leaders, doctors and hospitals, social service and safety-net organizations, faith communities, chambers of commerce, advocates for healthcare consumers, and many more.
KanCare expansion would benefit the entire state — that’s why we do what we do.
– 78% — or nearly 8 out of every 10 — Kansans support KanCare expansion.
– Expansion will reduce health care costs for everyone. Every Kansan is paying the price for not expanding KanCare. When low-wage Kansans can’t get health coverage that means more ER bills, increased uncompensated care for hospitals, and untreated mental and physical health needs. This means individuals, families, and businesses all end up paying more for health care. Expanding KanCare will bring the cost of health care down for everyone.
– Expansion will protect Kansans from medical debt. People all over the state feel the effects of rising costs for housing, food, and other needs, including health care. Almost half of Kansans have medical debt or know someone who does. By expanding KanCare, tens of thousands of people will be able to afford insurance coverage. That protects them from medical debt, so they can use those savings to pay for other essentials.
– Expansion will fix eligibility limits, which are currently too low. The income limit to qualify for KanCare is less than $8,750 a year for a family of three, which is less than $4 per hour. Expanding KanCare would raise the income eligibility limits so that more hardworking Kansans who contribute to the economy can get the health care they need for themselves and their families.
– Expansion preserves and strengthens rural health care. Kansans in our rural communities already have a hard time accessing health care when and where they need it and rural healthcare providers face high levels of uncompensated care. Kansas has more rural hospitals at risk of closing than any other state our size. Expanding KanCare would strengthen and sustain the rural healthcare system and help ensure rural Kansans get the healthcare they need while giving a boost to their economies.
– Expansion will make Kansas more economically competitive. Expanding KanCare would increase the state’s economic output by $17 billion and increase the personal income of Kansans by $6.3 billion over the next three years. Expanding KanCare will not only improve the health of Kansans, but it will also help our state compete with our neighbors who have expanded eligibility for their Medicaid programs.
KanCare expansion will help with workforce shortages in Kansas. Expansion offers affordable health insurance to many who are currently uninsured. Many of those individuals will be able to get the health care services they need to get their health back on track so they can get back to work
Any big plans?
We are getting ready to launch a very exciting initiative called “Steps to Expansion.”
This is a step-by-step plan that will help everyone — individuals and organizations — advocate for KanCare expansion during the 2023 Legislative session. Our website, ExpandKanCare.com, will have concrete, actionable steps that people can take to advocate for expansion with their legislators, and will give them the tools to do it.
- Website: ExpandKanCare.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/expandkancare/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExpandKanCare
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ExpandKanCare
- SoundCloud: https://rss.com/podcasts/healthinthe34th/
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@ExpandKanCare