TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) - Currently, the state of Kansas has Kancare, a program that provides healthcare paid for by a combination of state and federal funding. To qualify a Kansan has to be considered in need according to specific state standards.
If there's one thing that Laura Kelly, Kris Kobach and Greg Orman agree on, it's that the current Medicaid program isn't working.
"It was a disaster at the beginning, it continues to be a disaster," Kelly said. "It is not meeting the needs of Kansans."
"I think we send a terrible message to people in Kansas who are working and not making a lot of money ,and that is if you get sick quit your job, because to qualify for Medicaid in Kansas you have to earn under 38% of the poverty line," Orman said.
"We should look at the Medicaid population we have right now, 400,000 or so Kansans, and do things to improve the performance of what they are receiving from the state"
Each candidate has a very different solution for how to deal with it.
Republican Kris Kobach says he doesn't want to expand Medicaid, because he thinks it would cost too much for taxpayers. Instead he wants to introduce new healthcare programs.
"Direct primary care is an idea that I think its time has come," Kobach said. "We should try direct primary care in the Medicaid population. That's concierge medicine. That means for $50 a month you get unlimited primary care visits and you receive prescription medication from the doctor himself or herself."
Democrat Laura Kelly does want to expand Medicaid, which means allowing more people to qualify for coverage under the state funded healthcare plan.
"We have left $2.7 billion of Kansas taxpayer money back in Washington D.C. to be distributed to other states," Kelly said, "We need to be providing that healthcare access to 150,000 Kansans. We also need to support our rural hospitals and grow our economy. We can do that by expanding Medicaid."
Independent Greg Orman also wants to expand Medicaid, but said he can do it without spending more state money.
"We will deliver better health outcomes in Kansas, make sure more people are covered, but ultimately do it without increasing the burden on the state of Kansas and the taxpayers," Orman said.
No matter who wins the election, Kansans will be seeing changes to their healthcare.
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