Could reduce number of uninsured Kansans much more

It is great news that the number of uninsured Kansans dropped from about 380,000 in 2010 to 350,000 in 2011, according to the most recent data. The drop is likely linked to provisions in the Affordable Car Act requiring insurance companies to provide coverage to children with pre-existing conditions and to allow people up to age 26 to be covered under their parents’ plans, an official at the Kansas Insurance Department said. Kansas could see a much greater drop in the number of uninsured if Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature would allow another provision of ACA to go into effect in Kansas: An expansion of Medicaid. According to a study by the Kansas Hospital Association, the expansion – which the federal government would fully pay for during the first three years and nearly fully pay for after that – would enable more than 150,000 Kansans to get needed insurance. It also would inject more than $3 billion into the state’s economy, create 4,000 jobs over the next seven years, and help strengthen hospitals. But Brownback wants Kansas to be more like Texas – which has the highest uninsured rate in the country.