Honor Kansas Veterans:  Expand KanCare

On Veterans Day, we honor those who have served our country.  In addition to the parades, remembrances, and moments of silence, we can thank our veterans in another way:  by expanding KanCare.

Despite their sacrifices, more than a million military veterans and their family members across the United States lack health insurance coverage.  Most live in states, like Kansas, that have not closed the Medicaid coverage gap.  Here in Kansas, more than 21,000 veterans and their family members are uninsured.  If our elected leaders act to expand KanCare, our state-specific Medicaid model, 7,400 of these veterans and their spouses would gain access to quality, affordable health care coverage at no cost to the state.

Expanding KanCare will provide financial security to Kansas veterans and their families by protecting them from high health care costs.  More than 40 percent of uninsured veterans report unmet medical needs and one-third have at least one chronic health condition.  Insurance coverage is crucial to making sure these Kansas veterans get the care they need.

Kansans are already paying the cost of this expanded coverage, but veterans are not seeing the benefits.  Federal funds – our tax dollars – would cover nearly all costs of the program.  Expanding KanCare is Kansas’ opportunity to get back some of the tax money we’ve been sending to Washington and to replace state tax dollars that are currently being used to subsidize health care providers for treating the uninsured.  Until we take advantage of this opportunity, our federal tax dollars are going to California, Colorado, New York and other states to provide health care to their uninsured residents.

By expanding KanCare, lawmakers can help serve thousands of Kansans who have already served us all.

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Sources:

Haley, J., Gates, J., Buettgens, M., and Kenney, GM.  “Veterans and Their Family Members Gain Coverage Under the ACA, but Opportunities for More Progress Remain.” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute, September 2016.

Chokshi, DA and Sommers, BD. “Universal health coverage for US veterans: a goal within reach.” The Lancet, Volume 385, Issue 9984, pp 2320-2321.

Haley, J. and Kenney, GM.  “Uninsured Veterans and Family Members: State and National Estimates of Expanded Medicaid Eligibility Under the ACA” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute, March 2013.

Haley, J. and Kenney, GM. “Uninsured Veterans and Family Members: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute, May 2012.