Kansas elections set up hidden referendum on Medicaid expansion
By Joel Mathis | Oct. 26, 2020
David Larson was alarmed in June when he started feeling sick. The coronavirus was spreading in Kansas, and the 56-year-old Wichita resident – who lives with diabetes, high blood pressure and clinical depression – knew his preexisting conditions made him vulnerable to the illness.
“I came down with something. I was nervous it might be COVID,” he says a few months after recovering. “It was actually the flu.”
Larson wasn’t just worried about his health: He also was unsure how to pay for the cost of getting well. He last had health insurance in 2010, losing it when he stepped away from his job as an ordained minister after coming out of the closet. Since then, he worked a part-time job with the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Wichita chapter to pay the bills – but didn’t make enough to buy his own insurance. For the most part, Larson managed his chronic conditions with visits to the Guadalupe Clinic, a nonprofit health center, and Comcare Sedgwick County.
The possibility of COVID-19, though, was a more urgent matter.