Medicaid expansion fight

WICHITA, Kansas – Tens of thousands of Kansans make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to get help from the Affordable Care act.

An expansion would bring the number of Kansans covered under Medicaid to 450,000.

That is about 20 percent of the state’s population.

Doing nothing leaves upwards of 100,000 uninsured.

The Feds say they would pay for it, but Governor Brownback says no.

The governor’s office says the so-called Obamacare is just too flawed.

On Thursday, those who work in healthcare rallied to help those caught in the middle.

“We’re contributing those tax dollars and instead of it coming back to Kansas it’s being shipped off to other states to fund their programs,” said Katrina McGivern from the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved (KAMU).

The state of Kansas’s official response targets Obamacare.

Spokeswoman Sara Belfry said: “Obamacare is fundamentally flawed and the disastrous rollout is just another indicator of the problems we will continue to see. Governor Brownback’s first priority is to extend KanCare to those who need it most: Kansans with disabilities on waiting lists for services. He looks forward to working with the legislature to ensure these Kansans get the services they need.”

For those turning Kansans away from both Obamacare and Medicaid, they say more needs to be done.

“And it’s a frustrating thing. They’re locked into this no-mans land where we can’t help them with the Affordable Care Ac,  and they get nothing because they are over that 30-35 percent of the poverty level,” said Steve Henry from Liberty Benefit Consultants.

Henry says rallying lawmakers is a good start but not good enough.

“These people have nothing now and they leave us and we can’t do anything for them so they have nothing then, either.”

Those with Liberty Benefit Consultants in Wichita recommend writing emails to lawmakers to send a message either to accept federal money or spend more money here in Kansas to get more people insured.

The state is also going forward with Medicaid expansion for the developmentally disabled.

The governor announced today that in-home services for about 8,500 Kansans would be covered under the overhauled program known as KanCare.

The changes take effect on Saturday.

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