WHY IT MATTERS
Access to adequate health care is a right. Not a privilege. That means health care is available at a fair price to all. It also means that people have access to care in their communities - not hours away.
We live in the richest country in the world, yet suffer from one of the most expensive healthcare systems with some of the worst outcomes.
Partisan opposition and the health insurance lobby’s influence have driven healthcare access to a precarious point for families in Kansas and Missouri, especially hurting our most vulnerable: the working class, communities of color, and immigrants. In 2019, 70,000 people, including 50,000 children, were dropped from Missouri’s Medicaid rolls.
Research shows that 200,000 Missourians could gain coverage with Medicaid Expansion, which would pay for itself—both financially and in having a healthier, more secure community.
Join Indivisible KC and others groups leading the fight for not only accessibility, but health care as a fundamental human right, right here in Kansas City.
CALLS TO ACTION
After nearly 250,000 signatures were turned in to the Missouri Secretary of State on May 1, 2020, twice what were required, Missouri Medicaid Expansion will be on the ballot this year!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Make sure you, and everyone you know votes on August 4th. Missouri has somewhat and temporarily (for 2020 only) relaxed rules for absentee voting. More here.
Pledge to vote and/or volunteer here.
MORE2 is hosting remote phone banks every Tuesday and Thursday in June from 4 - 7 pm.
Your team, organization, or congregation can host it's own remote phonebank. We can even aim calls and customize a script, so you're building relationships with neighbors at the same time.
Contact to learn more or set up your own team's phonebank as soon as possible. More info here.
KCUR, May 27, 2020
Expanding Medicaid In Missouri To Go On August Ballot
An estimated 200,000 people could receive coverage if the program was expanded.
Updated at 9 p.m. with lawsuit filed against the initiative
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday that the question of whether to expand Medicaid will be placed on the August primary ballot, a move he said is more about “policy” than politics.
Parson said expanding Medicaid to insure more low-income people will be a “massive spending initiative” and the state needs to know where it stands financially.
“Pass or fail, it is important that we understand the implications of what would be a new spending bill out of our already depleted general revenue,” Parson said at his regular press briefing on Tuesday.
He said the state already needs an additional $88 million in revenue through 2021 due to the economic effects from the coronavirus, and if the state decides to expand Medicaid it will be forced to compete with other state programs for dollars.
“That will compete against the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,” he said. “It will compete against higher education. It will compete against mental health and public safety. All of those things are a reality.”
Parson did not mention that the federal government will pay roughly 90% of costs associated with expansion, and many studies suggest it would pay for itself. (Emphasis added)
The state spends nearly $4 billion to provide Medicaid to people with disabilities, children, pregnant women and some seniors currently.
The federal government covers about 65% of the cost, and the state covers the rest. However, studies suggest adding people who make up to 138% of the federal poverty rate — just under $18,000 annually — would mean the state would receive a higher federal reimbursement rate to cover the additional costs. If the program was expanded, an estimated 200,000 people could receive coverage.
According to an independent report in 2019, researchers provided best- and worst-case scenarios for how much money expansion could potentially save or cost. If a larger amount of patients who required more expensive care flowed into the program, and if fewer current HealthNet enrollees switched, the expansion could cost the state an additional $42 million. However, if fewer healthier people enrolled, the state could save up to $94 million.
Americans for Prosperity-Missouri filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Cole County Circuit Court challenging the validity of the Medicaid expansion initiative.
“This ballot initiative violates the Missouri Constitution by mandating the state fund the expansion of Medicaid without providing a funding source,” the group’s state director, Jeremy Cady, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Parson’s likely Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Auditor Nicole Galloway, said the decision to put expansion on the primary ballot instead of the November general election was a “career politician” move.
“He knows that Medicaid expansion is more popular than he is in a general election,” Galloway said in a statement. “He hopes that a smaller electorate will give him a better chance of misleading the voters and defeating it.”
Despite the coronavirus making it nearly impossible to gather signatures, the group backing the plan, Healthcare for Missouri, said it started the process early enough to easily get the necessary signatures required for the 2020 ballot.
Kansas Medicaid Expansion Held Hostage by Sen. Susan Wagle
The KanCare expansion bill is now blocked in committee by Sen. Gene Suellentrop, at the bidding of Senate President Susan Wagle. He promoted several amendments that critics said would effectively kill the legislation:
The killer proposal aims to block Medicaid expansion from being implemented until Kansas voters approve a constitutional amendment reversing the Supreme Court’s abortion decision;
Work, education or volunteer requirements were added for anyone enrolling in expanded coverage;
An amendment allowing Medicaid providers to opt-out of medical services they object to on religious grounds passed;
Another proposal would stop Medicaid expansion from being implemented until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the individual coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Kansas Medicaid Expansion Up in Air
Last Monday the Kansas Legislature, which had seemed set to expand Medicaid for up to 130,000 low-income Kansans after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning (Sen Dist-11, R) had forged a pre-session compromise, ground to a virtual halt.
Today, additionally, the state budget looks as though it will be held up all because of abortion politics. It should anger you right now; and further delay may well impact important services like transportation legislation and law enforcement, to say nothing of important voting rights, energy, and other health care legislation.
That a self-serving Senate president, Susan Wagle, has put her personal ambitions above the people she is supposed to serve is not the most galling aspect of this story. Understand that Kansans for Life, the KS Chamber of Commerce and the four Catholic dioceses of Kansas are determined to block Medicaid expansion until a constitutional amendment effectively criminalizing abortion is put on the August ballot. There is no depth too deep these self-righteous fundamentalists will not sink because they believe their moral imperative supersede all others’.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Read the actual KS Supreme Court decision that got this snowball rolling and then make up your own mind. Click here.
Call Susan Wagle at 785-296-2419
Call the Kansas Chamber of Commerce: 785-357-6321
BILLS WE ARE WATCHING
Click through to read more about bills, their status, full text, sponsors and how specific elected representatives voted. (Best viewed on a larger screen.)
Colors bars to the left of bills indicate IKC support (green) or opposition (red).
We will be ranking more pieces of proposed legislation in the 2020 session. If you'd like to help us sort through the bills introduced regarding health care, go to our volunteer form, here.
**Data supplied by Bill Track 50**