Major health foundations of Kansas urge legislators, governor to expand KanCare


Date: December 8, 2015
Contact: Jennifer Sykes
Phone: (816) 241-7006

Topeka, KS – Leaders of the state’s six major health foundations today sent a letter to Kansas legislators and the governor urging them to give KanCare expansion “serious consideration and an open debate,” pointing to new research that shows potential savings for the Kansas budget.

“The potential benefit to the state budget alone indicates that legislators can no longer afford to simply say ‘no’ to KanCare expansion. We call upon legislators to give KanCare expansion serious consideration and an open debate, allowing diverse opinions a chance to be heard in committee and on the chamber floors,” reads the letter signed by the six foundations, which comprise the Kansas Grantmakers in Health (KGIH).

The letter cited a new analysis by Manatt Health Solutions commissioned for KGIH that found with KanCare expansion and the favorable federal funding match offered, Kansas could expect to save much of what it currently spends for providing critical services to the uninsured, including up to:

  • $75.3 million that Kansas spends annually for mental and behavioral health care.
  • $28.9 million that Kansas spends each year to reimburse hospitals and clinics for the uncompensated care they provide.
  • $9.3 million that Kansas spends annually for medical services to prison inmates.
  • $4.1 million that Kansas spends each year for the MediKan program.

The analysis concluded: “It appears that Kansas should be able to generate sufficient savings and revenue gains to cover the costs of expansion between 2016 and 2020 — in other words, expansion should be budget neutral. In fact, expansion may generate savings and new revenue in excess of the costs of expansion during this period.”

The letter from the foundations said the potential benefit to the state budget alone merited serious consideration of KanCare expansion. “Kansas’ severe and growing budget crisis recently prompted legislators to pay a consultant $2.6 million in hopes of finding more savings and efficiencies. Yet for two years, Kansas has ignored a policy decision that could be saving the state millions of dollars right now, while providing more than 150,000 uninsured Kansans health coverage: KanCare expansion,” the letter continues. “Many of the states that have embraced expansion are led by Republican governors and conservative legislatures. If they can find state-­‐based solutions, so can Kansas.”

The full text of the letter from the foundations can be found on the Sunflower Foundation’s website.

The Kansas Grantmakers in Health is comprised of: Health Forward Foundation, Kansas Health Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation, Sunflower Foundation, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, and Wyandotte Health Foundation. More information on each continues below.

Media contacts 
For comment from individual foundations:

Health Forward Foundation
Jennifer Sykes, Communications Officer
(816) 241-­7006

Kansas Health Foundation 
Blythe Thomas, Vice President for Communication
(316) 491-­8419

REACH Healthcare Foundation 
Pattie Mansur, Communications Director
(913) 432-­4196

Sunflower Foundation 
Phil Cauthon, Director of Communications
(785) 232-­3000

United Methodist Health Ministry Fund 
Kim Moore, President
(620) 662-­8586

Wyandotte Health Foundation 
Cathy Harding, President and CEO
(913) 371-­4031

For more information on the analysis by Manatt Health Solutions and the potential budget savings of KanCare expansion, the authors of the report are available for interviews: 

Manatt Health Solutions 
Deborah Bachrach, Partner
(212) 790-­4594

Cindy Mann, Partner
(202) 585-­6572

For more information from a Kansas-­based expert on the analysis by Manatt Health Solutions or on KanCare expansion contact: 

Kansas Health Reform Resource Project
Sheldon Weisgrau, Director
(785) 550-­7236

About the Kansas Grantmakers in Health member foundations

Health Forward Foundation 
The Health Forward Foundation was established in 2002 to eliminate barriers and promote quality health care for the uninsured and underserved. The Kansas City, Mo.-­based nonprofit’s service area includes Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Cass, Jackson and Lafayette counties in Missouri. Grants are prioritized for programs and activities that make demonstrable improvements in health and health care for medically indigent and underserved populations. Learn more about the Health Forward Foundation

Kansas Health Foundation 
The Kansas Health Foundation was established in 1985 to improve the health of all Kansans. TheWichita­‐based private philanthropy is guided by the belief that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The foundation seeks opportunities to invest its resources in people and projects that meet its mission and create long-term, sustainable health improvements. Learn more about the Kansas Health Foundation

REACH Healthcare Foundation 
The REACH Healthcare Foundation was established in 2003 to improve access and quality of health care for poor and medically underserved individuals through financial support of programs and initiatives. The Merriam-­based nonprofit focuses on three areas: oral health, mental health and safety net health services. Its service area includes Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas; Cass, Jackson and Lafayette counties in Missouri, and the city of Kansas City, Missouri. Learn more about the REACH Healthcare Foundation

Sunflower Foundation 
The Sunflower Foundation was established in 2000 to serve as a catalyst for improving the health of Kansans. The Topeka-­based nonprofit directs resources statewide toward helping people and communities achieve and maintain optimal health by improving access to health care, eliminating barriers, emphasizing prevention and promoting healthy environments that enable and support personal responsibility for health. Among other things, the foundation believes in treating others as we want to be treated and seeking solutions to the critical health issues facing Kansas. Learn more about the Sunflower Foundation

United Methodist Health Ministry Fund 
The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund was established in 1986 to advance health, healing, and wholeness throughout Kansas. The Hutchinson-­based nonprofit focuses grants on three areas: healthy lifestyles for young children, social and emotional development of young children, and access to health care. Working on behalf of more than 600 United Methodist churches, it is dedicated to the extension of health, healing and wholeness to all people in all stations of life. Learn more about United Methodist Health Ministry Fund

Wyandotte Health Foundation 
The Wyandotte Health Foundation was established in 1997 to improve the health of Wyandotte County residents. The Kansas City, Kan.-­based nonprofit focuses on enhancing access to primary care services for persons who are uninsured and underinsured, as well as supporting health prevention, intervention and education. Learn more about Wyandotte Health Foundation