Nearly 200 people turned out at the Kansas Statehouse today (TUE) to urge legislators to expand the state's Medicaid program. Kansas has some of the tightest Medicaid eligibility standards in the country and is one of 23 states choosing not to expand access to the health care program for the poor and disabled. The decision is costing hospitals millions of dollars and will likely leave about 90,000 uninsured Kansans in the so-called Medicaid gap. They make too much to qualify for the state’s existing Medicaid program but too little to get subsidies to purchase private coverage in the federal healthcare marketplace. The Kansas chapter of AARP is one of the groups pushing for expansion. Spokesperson Mary Tritsch says that’s because thousands of unemployed seniors who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare are likely to fall into the gap.
Governor Sam Brownback and Republican legislative leaders are holding firm in their decision to reject expansion, despite polls that show most Kansans would favor it.