It's time to expand Medicaid

Kansas is one of 15 states that has yet to expand Medicaid. The American Lung Association in Kansas urges legislators to make 2020 the year we expand Kancare. Expanding KanCare eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($28,676 per year for a family of three) would cover over 150,000 Kansans. This means access to the comprehensive healthcare coverage, such as access to preventive services, emergency care and hospitalizations, that lung disease patients need to breathe.

KanCare expansion also improves the financial well-being of Kansans. It stimulates the economy and creates jobs – as many as 4,000 jobs in the next five years according to a study by George Washington University. Expansion also has proven to help reduce risk of hospital closures, especially in rural areas.

KanCare expansion must be inclusive. We urge lawmakers to exclude barriers that limit benefits to our state such as excessive premiums and cost sharing, lockouts and work reporting requirements. These barriers jeopardize access to care for patients in Kansas.

For the 336,000 Kansans with lung disease, inaction and failure by lawmakers are no longer an option. Please join the American Lung Association in Kansas in urging legislators to expand this vital program in 2020.

Sara Prem (American Lung Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City), Overland Park