Opinion Columns & Blogs

Titanic took lives; Medicaid expansion saves them

Granted, Gov. Sam Brownback was referring to efforts in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act when, during his State of the State address last Tuesday, he likened the expansion of Medicaid in Kansas to “airlifting onto the Titanic.” But his comparison was insensitive to the struggles facing many citizens and Kansas hospitals. More than 1,500 people died when the Titanic sank in 1912. In contrast, more than 150,000 Kansans could get health insurance through Medicaid expansion. Not only could this coverage help them live healthier and more productive lives, it could save lives. Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center estimated that without Medicaid expansion, about 40,000 uninsured Kansans might not get necessary cancer screenings or the medical help they need to quit smoking. Expansion also would significantly help Kansas hospitals, some of which are struggling to stay open. Since Jan. 1, 2014, Kansas has forfeited more than $1.6 billion in federal funds to expand Medicaid.