Kansas News Service

KMUW's Kansas News Service reports on health, education and politics across the state. The service is a collaboration between KMUW, KCUR and Kansas Public Radio.

Feeding America

A new study of food insecurity finds some familiar patterns in Kansas. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, there are also a few surprises.

Every year when the County Health Rankings are published, they show southeast Kansas and Wyandotte County as having persistent problems with poverty. So it should come as no surprise that those same places have a high degree of food insecurity—defined as a lack of reliable access to adequate food.

THE HEALTH INEQUALITY PROJECT

A new study confirms that when it comes to life expectancy, income matters: The richest American men live 15 years longer than the poorest men, and the richest American women live 10 years longer than the poorest women. But the study also contains some surprises.

The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the poor in some geographical areas live nearly as long as their wealthier neighbors while the longevity gap is widening in other geographical areas.

http://www.kancare.ks.gov

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says approximately 34,000 Kansans could get treatment for mental illness or substance abuse disorders if the state would agree to expand its Medicaid program, known as KanCare.

Amy Campbell is a lobbyist for the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, which represents a wide range of Kansans with an interest in mental health. She thinks coverage through KanCare might help relieve some of the pressure on the state mental hospitals.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Selling bonds to generate a large amount of cash from the state’s tobacco settlement remains a budget balancing option. But there appears to be growing opposition to the idea in the Legislature.

State budget director Shawn Sullivan says no deal is under discussion. But he says trading years of steady tobacco payments for hundreds of millions in up-front cash remains an option if the state’s budget problems continue to worsen.

But opposition to the idea appears to be growing on both sides of the legislative aisle.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

Documents obtained by a child advocacy organization show that representatives of a Wall Street firm met with Kansas officials about bonding the state’s tobacco settlement last fall.

Kansas Action for Children President Shannon Cotsoradis says a document her organization obtained from a national business reporter confirms that a plan for bonding the state’s tobacco settlement is under discussion.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

For people with developmental disabilities, finding a job can be difficult. Sheltered workshops were created to provide work for them in a setting protected from competition in the marketplace. But some advocates say this system too often traps workers, and exploits them as a source of low-wage labor for employers.

Matthew Cunnelly, flickr Creative Commons

The head of a nonprofit organization that advocates for children is blowing the whistle on plans to raise some quick cash for the state treasury by selling the state’s tobacco settlement. State officials say no deal has been struck.

Shannon Cotsoradis, the president of Kansas Action for Children, says she has reason to believe that Gov. Sam Brownback wants to securitize a settlement reached decades ago to end a lawsuit against the nation’s major tobacco companies.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Thousands of Kansans participated in caucuses Saturday. Both the Democratic and Republican parties were pleased and surprised at the significant numbers.

Kerry Gooch, executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, says the response at the 47 caucus sites across Kansas was larger than expected.

"We had over 40,000 Democrats come out and participate in our caucus, which was about 7,000 more than we had in 2008," he says. "So a lot of people came out to participate and we are really excited about that."

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Updated 7:45 p.m. 

The Kansas Democratic Party declared Bernie Sanders the winner of Saturday's Kansas Democratic caucuses. The Vermont senator took 23 delegates, and opponent Hillary Clinton took 10. 

Just hours after the GOP caucus in downtown Wichita boasted personal appearances from party frontrunners on Saturday, including eventual winner Ted Cruz, area Democrats swamped their caucus sites to support their candidates.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

Update at 7:20 p.m.

According to the Associated Press, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has won the Republican caucuses in Kansas. He received 48.2 percent of votes, per the AP, with 4,161 votes in Sedgwick County.

Pages