AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE is necessary for children and adults, and untreated illness costs money and lives. We should start with ensuring access to care for expectant moms to improve their health. It continues with making certain Kansas’ littlest residents and their caregivers can see the doctor when needed and have nutritious food to eat.
IMPROVING OUTCOMES THROUGH GENERATIONS
Health is essential to communities’ well-being, and early access to health care improves health outcomes. While most Kansas children are healthy, they need regular, dependable care to stay that way. Their parents and families need that same ability to visit the doctor, because uninsured and sick caregivers won’t be able to give children the nurturing attention they need. But health is about more than an office visit. It’s also about healthy food and training programs for new parents. Working in concert, these programs can uplift Kansans for decades to come.
1. Medicaid, or KanCare, is a federal-state partnership that provides insurance to kids and families with lower incomes. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health insurance to children who don’t qualify for those programs; in Kansas, CHIP also falls under the KanCare program.
2. Unfortunately, since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Kansas is one the few states that haven’t expanded their Medicaid programs to include all the adults who should be eligible under the federal law.
Why expand Medicaid? To close the coverage gap for families. Learn More.
- Why KanCare Expansion Matters for Kansas Kids (Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, Sept. 2020)
- Medicaid expansion would address public health, budget challenges (KAC, May 2020)
- Medicaid Expansion in Kansas: Estimated Enrollment and Costs (Kansas Health Institute, January 2020)
3. Food insecurity is when kids and their families don’t always have enough to eat. Government-sponsored programs that help include SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), also known as food stamps; school meals; and other efforts to serve meals around the year or during the summer.
- SNAP waiver would benefit hungry Kansas children (KAC, February 2020)
4. Kansas has added barriers to accessing food assistance. Families have to undergo burdensome work reporting requirements, child support enforcement rules, and background checks.
- Why Kansas kids need cash assistance now more than ever (KAC, June 2020)
- Four ways the HOPE Act continues to hurt Kansas children and families (KAC, November 2018)
5. Home visiting programs support parents with visits from professionals equipped with strategies and tactics. Parents gain skills and competencies essential to supporting and improving their kids’ health and development.
- Home visit programs can improve rural health care before, during, and after pregnancy (KAC, February 2020)
- The benefits of home visiting (KAC, April 2019)
- Kansas Home Visiting Program website
FAMILIES NEED SUPPORT during their child’s first year of life and beyond. Healthy parents raise healthy children. If officials increase health care access, they will improve maternal physical and mental health, which will cultivate child development. The future of our state depends on the health of our youngest residents and their parents.
Infographic data sources
- 5.1% of Kansas children are uninsured (2018).
- 132,000 Kansans could enroll in Medicaid if we expand, according to the Kansas Health Institute, including 39,000 children (2020).
- 18.3% of Kansas kids live in food insecure households (2017).
- 103,282 Kansas kids participate monthly, on average, in the SNAP food assistance program (2016-18).