I am a family physician in Dodge City. I am also the President of the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians. In family medicine, we strive to achieve the triple aim: better care for patients, improved outcomes, and lower costs. In my practice, I see patients every day who have private insurance coverage, Medicare, KanCare, and those who are self-pay.

I see patients without insurance on a daily basis.

There are 150,000 mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends, and neighbors who could have access to health care services if KanCare were expanded. Most of them are working adults, some with two or three jobs.

However, they fall into the crack between the current KanCare program, making too much to qualify, and the Affordable Care Act, not making enough to qualify.

My fellow family physicians and I touch lives one at a time.

Your support of KanCare expansion can touch tens of thousands of lives. KanCare expansion can help so many. Dodge City has a federally qualified healthcare clinic.

People often feel that these clinics are the failsafe and that every patient is able to have all their health issues addressed there. In reality, patients can be seen there, but these are often the most complex of all patients. We can provide the primary care services, and often go above and beyond those services.

However, when their problems require specialist care services, we are forced to send patients to the ER to try to navigate the system to get access to the much-needed specialist care such as surgery, labs, or CT scans. If individuals had coverage (through KanCare expansion) those services could be provided in a much more cost-effective manner.

We see people who seek care in the ER, the most expensive place to receive care, simply because they delayed going to the clinic due to lack of insurance coverage. Hospitals are faced with providing costly primary care through the ER.

As you know, there are many hospitals in our state that are in dire financial straits. Coverage of more Kansans through expansion of KanCare would help hospitals that provide access to health care for many rural Kansans.

The proposed KanCare expansion legislation provides work referral requirements, subsidizes employer-sponsored insurance to support employment and would end if the federal commitment falls below 90%. Savings and new revenues would fund the expansion.

We have the opportunity to achieve a Kansas health care triple aim: better health care for 150,000 Kansans, better payment opportunities for Kansas physicians, and better payments for our state’s health care systems.

What are we waiting for; let’s do what’s right for Kansas by expanding KanCare. I encourage Kansans to contact their legislators and demand that the full House and Senate vote on KanCare expansion.

Dr. Jeremy Presley is a family physician in Dodge City and the President of the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians