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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
A view on daily living in Butler County with comments on community matters
Kansas Cares - Let’s prove it!
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By Pete & Judie

Pete and Judie blog about current events, politics, education, the economy, and other issues relevant to life in Butler County. We explore issues from diverse viewpoints, synthesizing essential information and resources to assist readers in ...

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Community Grace: Experiencing Life in Butler County

Pete and Judie blog about current events, politics, education, the economy, and other issues relevant to life in Butler County. We explore issues from diverse viewpoints, synthesizing essential information and resources to assist readers in forming their own opinions. Readers are encouraged to contribute to the discussions initiated in our blog by posting comments.

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By The Storandts
March 13, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Governor Brownback and the Kansas Legislature are talking about turning down federal funds that would cover more low-income Kansans.

KanCare (Medicaid) eligibility in Kansas is the lowest in the country—less than $6,000 a year for a family of four.

• With federal Medicaid funds, the state of Kansas could raise its KanCare eligibility threshold to a little less than $31,000 a year for a family of four, and federal funds would cover 100% of the cost for those newly eligible Kansans who enroll.

How Medicaid helps Kansans.

Medicaid is a federal-state partnership that provides health coverage for Americans, including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities.

• In order to participate in Medicaid, states are required to cover certain population groups ("mandatory eligibility groups") but Medicaid also gives states the flexibility to cover other population groups ("optional eligibility groups").• States can apply for a waiver of federal law to expand health coverage beyond these groups.• States set individual eligibility criteria within federal minimum standards.

For many eligibility groups, maximum income allowed is based on a percentage of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

• For example, 100% of the FPL for a family of four is $23,050 in 2012.• The Federal Poverty Level is updated annually.

Without affordable health insurance options, many hard-working, low-income Kansans and their families are falling through the cracks.

• They do not receive the medical care they need, and they cannot access the preventive care necessary to identify a serious illness before it worsens.• This can lead to more expensive treatment, unnecessary amputations, and even early death.

A REAL LIFE EXAMPLEOF WHAT THIS MEANS

A 12 year old boy had an abscessed tooth but his family was too poor to pay for the treatment and didn't qualify for financial assistance from the state to pay for it. The untreated abscess eventually resulted in bacteria seeping into the child's brain, and expensive emergency brain surgery was performed. What might have been a $100 problem became one costing more than a quarter million dollars.

What you can do.

If you want Kansas to be a community that cares about children and adults with disabilities, contact your representatives in the Kansas Legislature and Governor Sam Brownback -- ask them to accept federal Medicaid dollars available in 2014 and protect hard-working Kansans.

None of us know when we or a family member will acquire a chronic illness that will bankrupt us, and then be denied access to Medicaid assistance until our yearly income falls below $6000.

Is that what you want for you and your family? For your neighbors, the people in the next pew, and fellow Kansas residents?

Accepting free federal Medicaid funding available in 2014 will improve the health of citizens living in Kansas and promote job creation. Ask Gov. Brownback and the Kansas Legislature to accept federal Medicaid funds available in 2014, and protect hard-working Kansans who would benefit through health coverage.

These additional federal Medicaid dollars would:

1. Improve wellness and preventive health care measures for hard-working Kansans, many of whom are currently uninsured.

2. Reduce daily fear of getting sick or injured.3. Boost the state's economic health by saving millions of dollars in uncompensated health care costs (for example, emergency room medical treatment).4. Create thousands of new jobs in health care and related fields, generating significant, much-needed new tax revenues for the state of Kansas.

Let's show the world that Kansas is a community that cares!

____________________RESOURCES• Federal poverty guidelines: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/12poverty.shtml • Medicaid.gov: http://www.medicaid.gov/

Adapted from: Tell Gov. Brownback and the Kansas Legislature: Accept Federal Funds and Cover Uninsured Kansans, By Stuart Elliott.

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