Senator Hildebrand,

The State of Kansas is missing the most vulnerable of its citizens. The expansion of Medicaid would give health insurance to 150,000 Kansans who fall into the health coverage gap. These working-poor make too much money to qualify for KanCare but not enough to receive financial help to buy private insurance. Kansas has one of the lowest thresholds for Medicaid eligibility leaving these hard working men and women with almost no options for insurance.

Aside from the benefits to the working poor, the expansion of Medicaid would inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy and create approximately 3,800 new jobs. We’re talking about our tax dollars coming back to the state, taxes that we’ve already paid and are currently used outside of Kansas. THis money would also help to maintain rural Kansas hospitals, of which more than 30 are considered financially vulnerable. When these hospitals close they leave large portions of the state without an easily accessible source for health care.

The bottom line is that this expansion saves lives. So many of our citizens delay health care until it is too late. One gentleman resisted going to the hospital for a serious illness because of a previous bill that he had yet to pay. By the time he did go, it was too late. He died, leaving behind a wife and two children. This is not who we are and certainly not who we should be. Expanding this crucial program saves lives. Other states have show this to be true. As Kansans, it’s time we see it too.

Joe Beauchamp

Pittsburg, Kansas