Kansas faith leaders to converge on Statehouse, demand Medicaid expansion

FILE(WIBW/Phil Anderson)
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 12:19 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Faith leaders from all over the Sunflower State will converge on the Kansas Statehouse to demand legislators make necessary expansions to the Medicaid program.

For nearly a decade, the Kansas Faith Democracy says the state has been eligible to increase access to affordable health insurance through expansions to KanCare under the Affordable Care Act. However, state legislators have yet to take action which it said has left the state behind its neighbors.

“It is difficult to witness our church members having to spend money to travel hours to such places as Kansas City, Wichita, and Joplin to seek medical help because their local hospitals have closed their doors due to the lack of Medicaid expansion,” said Rev. George Proctor, Pastor of United Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Scott.

In 2022, the organization said the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity started a new statewide project called the Kansas Faith + Democracy Table - a space for African American ministers and religious leaders across the Sunflower State.

At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, Kansas Faith said leaders and allies will host a news conference at the Statehouse in the 2nd Floor Rotunda to announce a new grassroots effort and demand action on Medicaid expansion.

“In our society, there have always been those who are marginalized, the poor, black, and brown people,” said Rev. Ricky E. Bragg, Pastor of Abundant Life Church in Kansas City, Kansas, “but justice calls us to balance the scales so that the vast resources of our nation can be shared by all.”

For several months, the organization said religious leaders have coordinated efforts to raise awareness within local congregations and have invited parishioners to take action and sign postcards to legislators. Clergy will now come to the Capital City to deliver the first of these direct appeals from constituents.

“We hope to send a message to our elected officials that there is a new grassroots army of ambassadors who will champion the cause of Medicaid expansion in Kansas,” said Rev. Dr. Bobby Love, Sr., Pastor of Second Baptist Church of Olathe. “This group has been birthed under the steeple, at the altars of our churches, with prayer and faith believing that this issue is vital to the well-being of those on the margins of the economic spectrum. The late Dr. Martin Luther King said it best ‘of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane’. If Kansas is healthy, then we all benefit as neighbors. We must pass Medicaid expansion now.”