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Gallup Poll Shows Kansas Saw Significant Increase of Uninsured

A new Gallup poll shows Kansas saw a significant increase in its uninsured rate this year, while states expanded Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act have seen the largest declines.

Kansas, which has not expanded its Medicaid program through the health care law saw the adult uninsured rate rise from 12 percent last year to nearly 18 percent during the first half of this year. It's the seventh-highest uninsured rate in the nation according to data collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger says her office is puzzled by the numbers and has reached out to Gallup.

"When a pollster has that kind of outlier they look at it closely too, so there's something else going on," says Praeger. "I think that we probably do have more uninsured today than than the 12 and a half percent but I can't imagine that we are that much different from other states."

Praeger says she certain the uninsured rate would not have gone up as much if Kansas had considered options through the Affordable Care Act.

"We were one of the states that didn't do Medicaid expansion and didn't do our own exchange," she says. "The states that did both of those of course had the biggest declines in uninsured."

Both Arkansas and Kentucky, states which expanded Medicaid and either created their own exchanges or partnered with the federal government, saw the largest declines in uninsured adults from just over 20 percent to 12 percent this year.

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.