Dear Editor,

At the East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation (ECKAN), part of our mission is to assist low-income Kansans achieve economic self-sufficiency. A key component to reaching that goal is access to health care. Without insurance, medical costs can add up fast, which can negatively impact a person’s or family’s financial stability.

That’s why it’s so important that we expand KanCare to more low-income Kansans. Not only does this effort benefit 150,000 Kansans, KanCare expansion is good for our state as a whole. Because the law requires the federal government to pay 90 percent of the cost, 36 states have implemented expanded Medicaid programs. Rolling back this law and the funding attached to it is extremely unlikely. Kansas can count on continued 90 percent federal funding.

Additionally, KanCare expansion will help to prevent the closures of rural hospitals that so many Kansans rely on. Although urban hospitals are larger and serve more complex patients — and therefore will receive more revenue from expansion than smaller rural facilities — the additional funding is much more important to the bottom line of the rural hospitals, many of which are struggling financially. It’s time to give our rural hospitals and communities the tools they need to survive, including KanCare expansion.

KanCare is a unique Kansas program and I’m confident we can build on it and implement expansion in a distinctively Kansas way. We simply can’t turn down this opportunity to strengthen our local economies and the health of so many of our most vulnerable residents.

— Richard Jackson, CEO East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation.