Kansas Action for Children's vision is to make Kansas the best state to raise -- and be -- a child, and our organization shapes health, education, and economic policies that improve the lives of Kansas children and families. We support expanding KanCare coverage because it will improve the health and well-being of Kansas children and families. KanCare expansion will address several challenges the state is currently facing.
Address infant mortality
Despite the overwhelming research showing the importance and intersection of infant and maternal health, we know not all Kansas infants and parents have access to health care in the first year of a baby's life. Expansion of KanCare would increase the number of parents who receive health care coverage before pregnancy, bolstering the health of parent and child.
Expanding KanCare will reduce infant mortality. Currently, many low-income women are eligible for KanCare coverage only during pregnancy. Inconsistent coverage for women contributes to the state's infant mortality rate of 6 deaths per 1,000 live births. Despite the state's overall decrease in infant mortality in recent years, Black babies are twice as likely to die before their first birthdays when compared to their white peers. Offering health care coverage before and between pregnancies is a key strategy to reduce infant mortality for all Kansas babies.
Reduce the number of uninsured children
Expanding KanCare to cover more Kansas adults will reduce the number of uninsured children. Kansas has made great progress in providing health care coverage for children -- 95 percent are covered. But there is more work to do. Nearly 40,000 Kansas children lack health insurance coverage. Kansas' rate of uninsured children stood at 5 percent in 2018, about the same as the national average, according to the analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. But a close look at the state's data shows the highest rate of uninsured children in Kansas is among families with the lowest incomes (9 percent).