TOPEKA — The political dynamics are a bit different in Kansas than in Missouri, but in both states supporters of expanded Medicaid programs are taking the same tack in hopes of persuading reluctant Republican policymakers to eliminate the so-called “Medicaid gap” that is leaving more than 340,000 low-income Kansans and Missourians without health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act, as written, would have expanded Medicaid in every state, including Missouri and Kansas where the eligibility restrictions are relatively tight. But the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that expansion was a decision for each state to make on its own.
Kansas and Missouri are among the 24 states that so far have chosen against broadening the program, despite entreaties from hospitals, doctors, consumer advocates and others.
Kansas, led by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and a GOP-dominated Legislature, is expected to reconsider the issue in the weeks ahead.
In Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has been urging the Republican-controlled General Assembly to do the same.
In this package of stories, KHI News Service looks at the latest developments in each state as their legislatures prepare to convene 2014 sessions.
Also included are profiles of families in each state that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid as it is currently configured, but too little for the subsidies intended to help people (earning between 100 percent and 400 percent of federal poverty guidelines) buy private health coverage through the new marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act.
Stories in this package
→ Kansas hospitals leading new push for Medicaid expansion
→ Profiles of the coverage gap: Kathleen Christian
→ MO Medicaid expansion advocates hope summer work yields compromise
→ Single mom in KCMO seeks benefit of preventive care
→ KS Senate president says Medicaid expansion unlikely to gain approval this session