Affordable Care Act

A new Gallup poll shows Kansas saw a significant increase in its uninsured rate this year, while states expanded Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act have seen the largest declines.

Kansas, which has not expanded its Medicaid program through the health care law saw the adult uninsured rate rise from 12 percent last year to nearly 18 percent during the first half of this year. It's the seventh-highest uninsured rate in the nation according to data collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

A new Gallup poll shows Kansas is the only state in the nation to see a significant increase in its uninsured rate this year. Meanwhile, states that adopted parts of the Affordable Care Act have seen the largest declines in their rates.

The adult uninsured rate in Kansas rose from 12.5 percent last year to more than 17.5 percent during the first half of this year, giving it the seventh-highest uninsured rate in the U.S. Research director Dan Witters did not offer an explanation for the growth in Kansas uninsured.

Kansas and Missouri are among the states that would be affected if a federal court ruling on Obamacare subsidies stands.

As Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, consumers in both states could lose the subsidies that help make the coverage affordable.

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services says the average out-of-pocket cost in Kansas for individual health insurance through the new federal marketplace is $67 a month. Bryan Thompson has more.

The report says the actual premium averages $290 a month, but most people qualify for a federal tax credit that covers three-fourths of that amount.

In fact, a little more than three out of every four Kansans buying insurance through the federal exchange qualify for some level of income-based tax credit.

A journalist who has covered the health reform debate for several national publications will be in Wichita next Wednesday to talk about the Affordable Care Act and the issue surrounding it.

Sarah Kliff worked for Politico and the Washington Post before recently moving to the new media venture Vox.com

Jim McClean talked with Kliff recently and has this preview...

Kliff will be speaking next Wednesday afternoon at Wichita’s Old Town Hotel.

Bryan Thompson

A Washington Post blog called “The Fact Checker” gives a “Four Pinocchios” rating to recent claims by Kansas First District Congressman Tim Huelskamp about the Affordable Care Act

The rating is based on statements Huelskamp made during recent town hall meetings in Hays and Salina, when he was asked about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Another new study says that expanding Medicaid would help low-income workers in Kansas and boost the state’s economy.

This latest study comes from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth. Jim McLean of the KHI News Service has more.

The Medicaid expansion study was funded in part by a consortium of Kansas health foundations, some of which also provide support to the KHI News Service.

Dave Ranney / http://www.khi.org

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, the Kansas state chapter of AARP, and several other groups are calling on Governor Sam Brownback to veto a bill authorizing Kansas’s membership in an interstate health care compact.

Bill supporters say the compact would free the state from the new Affordable Care Act rules and regulations and allow it to control Medicaid and Medicare spending within its borders.

The Senate is also taking up a bill to bring Kansas into a multi-state compact asking to be exempted from the Affordable Care Act.

If Senators pass the bill today, it will go to Governor Sam Brownback.

The House approved it last month.

If the U.S. Congress consents, the compact lets participating states remove themselves from all federal health regulations.

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