Health Forward Lends Additional Support for Medicaid Expansion Advocacy

Date: October 9, 2014
Contact: Jennifer Sykes
Phone: 816-241-7006
KANSAS CITY, MO – The Health Forward Foundation (Health Forward) Board of Directors has approved an additional $175,000 be dedicated to Health Forward’s Medicaid Expansion initiative, bringing the total invested to $782,479. These funds, in addition to funds approved earlier this year, are being used to support 10 organizations who are working on advocacy efforts to expand Medicaid in both Kansas and Missouri.

The following organizations have been awarded grants to advance Medicaid expansion:

Missouri Medicaid Coalition – $172,788
Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance – $138,000
Missouri Primary Care Association – $120,000
Missouri Jobs with Justice – $85,000
Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO) – $75,000
Kansas Health Reform Resource Project – $62,022
Missouri Organizing Collaborative – $55,000
Small Business Majority – $53,000
Grassroots Solutions – $21,669
The Affordable Care Act provides the bulk of the funds for states to expand Medicaid. While Kansas and Missouri have not made this decision, a total of 28 states have expanded Medicaid to date. States don’t have to pay anything until 2017 and only 10 percent of the expansion costs after that.

“Health Forward’s mission is to eliminate barriers to health for the uninsured and underserved. With more than 250,000 uninsured residents in the Kansas City area, lack of health insurance is a serious detriment to overall well-being,” said Health Forward President/CEO Bridget McCandless, M.D. “Absent Medicaid expansion, the coverage system in both Missouri and Kansas has a large coverage gap leaving thousands of Kansas Citians behind. Too many residents are not offered insurance through their employer, make too much money to qualify for the current Medicaid program and too little for a subsidized marketplace plan. Expanding Medicaid is not only affordable for our region, it’s the right thing to do to the improve overall health.”

The Affordable Care Act provides state funds to expand their Medicaid programs to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) for parents, childless adults and the disabled. Currently, neither Kansas or Missouri offers coverage for childless adults and has very low income eligibility limitis for parents (18 percent FPL in Missouri and 30 percent FPL in Kansas). For a family of four, 18 percent FPL is $4,239 annually.

“Medicaid expansion is the most consequential health policy issue facing underserved Missourians. The Health Care Foundation’s recognition and understanding of this critical issue will allow us to more effectively collaborate with other interested stakeholders and communicate our message more clearly, hopefully pushing this issue over the goal line,” said Joe Pierle, CEO of the Missouri Primary Care Association

If Missouri opts to expand Medicaid eligibility levels, more than 300,000 Missourians would gain insurance coverage. In Kansas, the figure is 240,000. Health Forward estimates that Medicaid expansion would provide health insurance coverage to nearly 90,000 individuals in Health Forward service area, bringing more than $325 million into the area.

“The Health Forward Foundation, in collaboration with the Kansas Grantmakers in Health, has provided us with valuable and flexible funding that allows the Health Reform Resource Project to pursue its goal of advancing the health of all Kansans through quality and affordable health coverage,” said Sheldon Weisgrau, Kansas Health Reform Resource Project.

-Health Forward-

Medicaid Expansion documents:
Health Forward’s Position Statement
Medicaid Expansion Information in Missouri
Medicaid Expansion Information in Kansas