Topeka Capital Journal: Cancer survivors support raising tobacco use age limit to 21, expanding access to Kansas Medicaid
By Tim Carpenter | February 5, 2019
Stephanie Barr spoke from the heart about health reform Tuesday as a cancer survivor who was around cigarette smoke in her youth.
Barr was 30 years old and without insurance when her breast cancer was diagnosed, but she qualified for care under a provision of Medicaid applicable to women with breast or cervical cancer. It convinced her to be an advocate for expansion of Medicaid in Kansas, a proposition supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s volunteers, who fanned out to lobby state legislators at the Capitol.
“I couldn’t afford insurance,” she said. “If I hadn’t had access to Medicaid, I would not be here today.”
Under a proposal offered by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, the state would broaden the Medicaid program in Kansas to include 150,000 more people. Members of the House and Senate Republican leadership have expressed skepticism about Kelly’s approach. In 2017, the Legislature passed an expansion plan later vetoed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.