Blog: Beginning the 2023 legislative session
April Holman, Executive Director, Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
Welcome to 2023! We find ourselves at the beginning of a new legislative session filled with fresh opportunities for positive policy change and an enormous need for citizen engagement in the legislative process. If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you support KanCare expansion as a way to provide increased access to affordable health care for tens of thousands of low-wage Kansans in need of coverage. We are delighted to have you alongside us in the movement for expansion!
We have our work cut out for us this year. The Kansas Legislature is returning with a variety of new leaders in the Kansas House of Representatives and at the committee level in both the Kansas House and Senate. There also will be a number of new faces in the legislature, many of which will have little understanding of the opportunity for expansion while others will bring with them deeply held misconceptions about the policy to the Statehouse.
Our job as advocates will be to help legislators and our communities to understand the host of benefits that expansion would bring to the state in addition to the most obvious reason to expand, which is providing access to affordable health care for adults in our communities who currently go without it. Some of these additional benefits include:
- Reducing health care costs for everyone.
- Protecting Kansans from medical debt.
- Fixing eligibility limits, which are currently too low.
- Preserving and strengthening rural health care.
- Helping to address the general workforce shortage in Kansas, and
- Making Kansas more economically competitive.
We want to make it as easy as possible for all of our partners — including you — to engage in legislative advocacy for expansion this session. To that end, we are launching a new campaign called “Steps to Expansion.” Our goal is to make it very clear to advocates across the state of Kansas where things stand with expansion legislation, how they can best contribute at any given stage of the legislative session, and where to find resources to help with identifying and contacting your legislator and using social media to share your support for expansion.
We hope you are enjoying our newly refreshed website, where you will find a wealth of resources to assist you in making the case for expansion. We also encourage you to consider joining our grassroots advocacy initiative, the Healthy Kansas Advocacy Community, which meets twice each month to collaborate on grassroots advocacy strategies for expansion.
Finally, we know that the key to achieving KanCare expansion is to build a movement too large and too loud to be ignored. We are grateful to have you in the movement. The next step is to bring your personal network and community into the movement as well. Poll after poll shows that the overwhelming majority of Kansans support expansion. Let’s work together to get more of those supporters to raise their voices so that we can finally overcome the political resistance at the Kansas Statehouse!