January 24, 2020

Capitol Connection is your weekly report from KAC's Vice President Adrienne Olejnik on happenings at the Statehouse and issues affecting Kansas children and families. For more updates, follow KAC on  Facebook  and  Twitter .

For Adrienne's perspective, see her Twitter account!
Medicaid expansion update

Ahead of this week's proponent testimony and hearings on Medicaid expansion, the Senate Public Health and Welfare committee invited KDHE Secretary Lee Norman to present on the state of health in Kansas. Sec. Norman stressed the importance of Medicaid expansion, timely and complete immunizations, and the effects of poverty on individual and community health.
In the past 30 years Kansas has seen the greatest decline in its health rankings -- falling to 29th place overall. The effects of obesity, smoking and vaping, and lack of immunizations are worrisome trends for Kansas. (See   America's Health Rankings  for more information.)
KAC submitted testimony in support of SB 252, which is the compromise Medicaid expansion bill. We highlighted why expansion is beneficial for kids and families:
  • Helps address infant mortality
  • Reduces the number of uninsured children
  • Increases family health outcomes through a multi-generation strategy
  • Boosts families' financial security and enables children to get better care from healthier parents 
Next week, the Senate committee will hear neutral testimony on Tuesday, and opponent testimony on Wednesday and Thursday for SB 252.
Children's Health Tour

On Thursday, in House Appropriations, there was a briefing on the Children's Health Tour. The trip to North Carolina, convened by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, was attended by administrative, legislative, and philanthropic representatives. The purpose of the tour was to learn about the early childhood system in North Carolina.

The state is leading the way in many areas of interest to Kansas Action for Children, including:
  1. Bipartisan commitment to early childhood.
  2. Placing early childhood as central to all state planning and policy efforts.
  3. Using incentives to achieve quality workforce and care across early childhood settings.
  4. Universal home visiting.
  5. Maximizing Medicaid supports for early childhood.
To learn more about the above topics, please check out the following KAC research resources:
KAC Podcast preview

We're excited to unveil the KAC Podcast series for this legislative
session! Listen as Kansas Action for Children's Communications Director Clay Wirestone and Outreach Specialist Mitch Rucker host conversations with policy leaders, activists, and researchers across the state.

See you next week!
-- Adrienne