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Issues in Health Reform

Issues in Health Reform

K-State Research and Extension
Family Studies and Human Sciences
343 Justin Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS, 66506


Much has been happening with health reform.  President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law on March 23, 2010, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of its provisions June 2012. The law has been rolling out since that time.  It has many facets to help improve efficiency and quality of health care but most of us think about it as expanding health insurance coverage for most Americans.  It does this by:

  1. Allowing states to expand their Medicaid programs to include lower income adults.
  2. Requiring large employers to cover full time employees; and
  3. Creating large purchasing pools in every state where insurance companies can offer affordable health insurance.  Most people who buy in through that Marketplace also receive financial assistance from the federal government to pay for premiums and, in some cases, for out of pocket expenses.

Through this website and other educational programs, K-State Research and Extension is providing objective, unbiased information about the ACA in order to help citizens in Kansas and beyond to understand how this Act affects and benefits them.

Specifically, K-State Research and Extension aims to;

  1. Increase understanding of the Affordable Care Act among Kansas citizens:
  2. Provide information so that consumers can make informed personal decisions; and
  3. Cooperate with Kansas groups who have an interest in providing education about the Affordable Care Act.

There have been many challenges to the law and their continue to be clarifications.  You may visit the follow blog to follow those developments more closely:  http://blogs.k-state.edu/issuesinhealthreform/

Key Issues

  • Health reform intended to address excessive costs, inconsistent quality, and inadequate access to health insurance.
  • Before the ACA, more than 1 in 8 Kansans (13.1 percent) were uninsured.
  • Since the new requirements for all to be insured began in 2014, more than 100,000 Kansans have gained insurance, mostly through the Kansas Health Insurance Marketplace, also called an Exchange.
  • Eighty percent of the people purchasing health insurance in the Marketplace are getting financial assistance paying for premiums.
  • Having health insurance matters for many reasons.  High on this list: Medical bills have been a burden for the uninsured, frequently leaving them with debt. Also, the risk of premature death among uninsured Americans is 25% higher than among Americans with health insurance.  Some of this is because the uninsured go without needed care due to cost. 
  • Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both combined in KanCare in Kansas, provide a key source of coverage for many who lack access to affordable coverage.
  • Kansas is one of 18 states that has chosen not to expand Medicaid to low income adults. 

Health Insurance Marketplace Timeline

Nov - Dec 2016

Next Open Enrollment Period

January 1, 2016

Health care coverage begins for those who enrolled.

February 2013

Kansas decided to pursue a federally run Health Insurance Marketplace.


Roberta Riportella
Kansas Health Foundation
Professor of Community Health
K-State Research and Extension