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Kansas And Missouri Lag In Reducing Numbers Of Uninsured

The number of people without health insurance is going down in both Kansas and Missouri, but not as fast as in many other states. One of the main reasons is that neither state expanded its Medicaid program.

Robert St. Peter, president of the nonprofit think tank the Kansas Health Institute, says new data from the U.S. Census Bureau show a clear distinction between those states that expanded Medicaid and those that didn’t.

“The average in the states that expanded Medicaid, the uninsurance rate went down 3.4 percent. And in the states that didn’t expand Medicaid, it went down only 2.3 percent,” St. Peter says.

Kansas’ uninsured rate fell by 2 percent in 2014. That was the year that several key provisions of the federal health reform law were implemented.

Missouri’s uninsured rate dropped by only 1.4 percent, one of the smallest declines in the nation. The average reduction across all 50 states was 2.9 percent, with Kentucky seeing the biggest decline of 5.8 percent.