Opinion Columns & Blogs

Kansas could have slashed its uninsured rate, too

Some of those who favor the cuts to health programs in the proposed 2016 Sedgwick County budget have argued that “Obamacare” was supposed to have everybody covered by now, canceling out the need for the donated care of Project Access and for other county-supported services. So why does the county still have an estimated 65,000 uninsured residents? A new Gallup report on uninsured rates nationwide points at part of the problem in Kansas, where the rate of uninsured has declined comparatively little since the Affordable Care Act took effect – from 12.5 percent in 2013 to 11.3 percent as of the first six months of 2015. The states with rates comparable to Kansas in 2013 that have dramatically reduced their uninsured rolls – Connecticut, to 5 percent; Maryland, 7 percent; New York state, 8.3 percent; and Michigan, 8.5 percent – did so by expanding Medicaid and running their own insurance marketplaces (or partnering with the federal government on one, in Michigan’s case). Kansas has done neither. Nationwide, the uninsured rate has dropped from 17.3 to 11.7 percent since 2013. – Rhonda Holman