Letter to the editor: Expand Medicaid

To the editor:

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bipartisan Social Security Amendments into law, creating Medicaid as the bedrock program providing health care access for low-income Americans. President Johnson declared of Americans, “As a Nation, they want, they need, and they can afford the best of health … for all our citizens, old and young, rich and poor.”

Today, Medicaid (known as KanCare in Kansas) is a vital lifeline for thousands of Kansans — particularly children, seniors, people of color, veterans and those living with disabilities. Supporting the KanCare program is one of the best investments we can make in Kansas’ future.

Through KanCare, low-income Kansans can better receive cost-effective preventive care and avoid catastrophic out-of-pocket medical costs. Additionally, research has shown Medicaid enrollment improves school attendance, high school graduation and college enrollment. Medicaid-eligible children earn more and require less medical care in adulthood. Medicaid has also been proven to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.

More than a half century after its creation, Medicaid has surpassed goals of improving health for lower-income Americans. Now we have the opportunity to expand eligibility for KanCare and help even more Kansans get access to affordable health care.

I will continue to fight for Medicaid expansion, and I am hopeful the Legislature will do the right thing in the 2020 Legislative Session by expanding the reach of this vital health care program.

Dr. Lee Norman,

Secretary of Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas Health Officer


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