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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 is president of the Kansas Health Institute, a nonprofit health policy think tank. He 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." St. Peter said. "In the states that didn't expand Medicaid, it  went down  only 2.3 percent." The uninsured rate in Kansas 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.

Jim McLean, Executive Editor of KHI News Service, oversees the KHI News Service. From 2005 until 2013, McLean coordinated all communications activities at KHI as Vice President for Public Affairs. The position he now occupies was created as part of a strategic initiative to solidify the editorial and operational independence of the KHI News Service. Prior to coming to KHI, McLean had a distinguished career as a journalist, serving as the news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. During his more than 20 years in Kansas journalism, McLean won numerous awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. In 1997, McLean and two Capital-Journal colleagues received the Burton W. Marvin News Enterprise Award from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism for a series of stories on the state’s business climate. McLean holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washburn University.