Coalition Seeking To Make KanCare Expansion An Issue In Legislative Races
A new coalition is forming to push Gov. Sam Brownback and legislators to expand KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. Members of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas jammed a Statehouse meeting room on Monday to kick off their campaign.
Brownback and Republican leaders have blocked any serious consideration of KanCare expansion for the past four legislative sessions because they remain strongly opposed to the federal health reform law they call Obamacare.
Members of the alliance say rejecting expansion has cost the state more than $1 billion in federal funds so far, put some hospitals at risk, and denied health coverage to 150,000 low-income Kansans.
“Can you imagine us turning down military funds, highway funds, some other federal funds to the tune of $1.1 billion with the potential of maybe around $2.4 billion? It’s time we get a grip," says Dr. Eric Voth, vice president of Topeka’s Stormont-Vail Hospital. "And it’s time we cast off this hysteria and ask our legislators to lead us in the right direction.”
David Toland runs an organization called Thrive Allen County in Iola.
“Make no mistake. The greatest enemy to Kansas communities right now is Topeka, it’s not Washington, D.C. It’s what’s happening in this building," Toland said.
Alliance members says they want to raise the heat on the expansion issue during the upcoming election, when all 165 seats in the Legislature are up for grabs.