Advocates for Medicaid expansion looking closely at Topeka

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Rebecca drove about 45 minutes to a GraceMed campus in Wichita on Monday.

“My son is Kenneth,” said Rebecca. “He’s here for some dental work.”

Rebecca uses GraceMed services. She used to get Medicaid herself but no longer has the service.

“Oh, I hope Medicaid gets expanded in Kansas. I’m watching. Not optimistic,” said Rebecca. “For me, I don’t get Medicaid anymore. I did when I was on disability when I was going through my cancer treatment, but now, they say I’m making a little bit too much money on my Social Security so I’m off of it now.”

Rebecca says her son gets good care at GraceMed.

GraceMed officials say Rebecca is one of the thousands in and around Wichita that could get benefits if Medicaid is expanded.

“Some people fall between the cracks with coverage,” said Juven Nava, director of Outreach at GraceMed. “I’ve been helping children get Medicaid qualified. I have been advocating for eight years or so and the last year is the most hopeful we have been here.”

Nava says they remain hopeful for Medicaid expansion in Kansas so they continue to closely advocate for and follow lawmaking moves in Topeka.

“We’re very hopeful actually that it can go through and pass,” said Julie Elder, D.O., Chief Medical Officer at GraceMed. “You see so many folks that are uninsured, and we have some resources to help them here as an FQHC but our resources are limited and so expansion of Medicaid for our patients would be huge.”

Elder says she knows the fight in Topeka continues, but says she believes Medicaid would benefit not just GraceMed clients but clients across the state.

“So we are watching,” said Elder. “And hopeful.”

Democrat and Republican leaders in Topeka continue talks over Medicaid expansion this week.

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