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Wichita to host Special Olympics North America softball tournament -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Via Christi to offer 2 events to help people enroll for insurance -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Sedgwick County withdraws from National Association of Counties -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Kansas House panel holds hearing on marriage -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Community leaders coming together to discuss ending domestic violence -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Parkinson's Disease Support Group to meet in McPherson -2/5/2015, 12:05 PM

Cited owner's case includes 2-day jail stay -2/5/2015, 12:05 PM

Smoky Hills Audubon Society to host free program on protecting birds -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Shuttle crosses many paths -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Jury acquits man for aggravated assault -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Second police officer to appeal firing to City Council -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Highway closed for repair of ruptured gas line -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Drop, Cover, Hold On -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Bill would let home-schooled students play on public school sports teams -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Wichita school district's Choices Fair set for Thursday -1/28/2015, 4:07 PM

United drops nonstop service from Wichita to LA -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Teen accused of assaulting girl with knife at school -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Mission of Mercy to offer free dental care in Salina -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

As Kansas turns 154, five events that shaped our state -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Kansas Senate set to pass 'constitutional carry' of concealed guns, no permit required -1/22/2015, 12:07 PM

Kansas Senate committee hears from medical marijuana supporters -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Defendant in burglaries case ID'd in video -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Barber Co. manhunt was short-lived on Facebook -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Airport boss shocked with surprise honor on 30-year work anniversary -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Meetings to discuss goals of education -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Wichita City Council could vote on marijuana issue Tuesday -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Salina woman's bank card fraudulently used -1/16/2015, 4:59 PM

Retiring judge marks end to an era -1/16/2015, 4:05 PM

Man accused of beating, shocking woman -1/16/2015, 4:05 PM

Wichita City Council votes 5-2 to move ahead with library plans -1/13/2015, 2:50 PM

Restaurant employee arrested for allegedly adding to tip -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

Misdialed 911 calls from cellphones waste taxpayers' money -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

Mahindra to launch Midwest distribution center in Lyons -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

County commission votes Shadwick chairman -1/13/2015, 2:44 PM

Dr. Donna Sweet earns award from American College of Physicians -1/9/2015, 3:05 PM

Boeing on track with deliveries of Poseidon jets to the Navy -1/9/2015, 3:05 PM

Prosecutors receive additional reports in child torture case -1/9/2015, 3:04 PM

Politico: Huelskamp flip-flops on Speaker vote -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

No-till farming focus of winter conference in Salina -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Negative publicity costly to county -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Hutch man pleads guilty to assault on officer -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Final person sentenced in connection with beating of Salina woman -1/7/2015, 10:59 AM

City Council to consider higher storm water utility fees -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Change for the better -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Sylvia home deemed total loss after fire -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

New commissioners respond to county issues -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Man arrested in connection with alleged rape -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Man shot dead in Haysville during reported break-in attempt -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Cold front plunges much of Kansas into deep freeze -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Access TV looking to increase quality -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Voting for grants will end on Christmas Day -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Santa Claus welcome year-round at Hutch home -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Marquette tyke gets big wish; family destined for Disney World -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Kan. death has spurred work on virus -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Hospice rep goes to bat for nonprofit -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Cirque du Soleil coming to Wichita -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

V-Plan transmission line now in service -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Plains pupils: Pluto's a planet -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch United Way campaign slips further from goal -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch inmate charged with sexual assault -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Colorado teenager injured in 1-vehicle wreck on I-70 -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Salina Journal hires attorney to pursue names of county commission candidates -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Hays resident to sign copies of his book in Salina -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Grandview Plaza shows another clean audit -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Eighth-grader earns educational opportunity -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

koch121514 -12/15/2014, 9:56 AM

Cattle rustlers hit several counties -12/14/2014, 6:13 PM

Michael McDonald brings soulful sounds of Christmas to Stiefel Theatre -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

McCarville enjoyed Kan. Supreme Court work -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

Constructing gingerbread houses en masse -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

City redefines 'perennial violator' -12/9/2014, 11:59 AM

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Ed board has lesson for 5 eyeing seats -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

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Thirteen apply for commission seats -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Max Heim selected interim president of Colby Community College -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Gold coin gives needed boost to Salvation Army kettle campaign -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Abilene's Garfield Elementary has potential -12/5/2014, 5:54 PM

Man arrested for shoplifting at Salina Walmart -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Former school counselor sentenced for rape of 13-year-old boy -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Design for Central starts taking shape -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Kansas highway projects to proceed as state grapples with budget -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

Foreclosures continue to fall in Kansas -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

Sedgwick County trying to renegotiate IRS building deal -12/4/2014, 1:59 PM

Wichita police find 75-year-old woman -12/4/2014, 1:50 PM

High Touch acquires Overland Park technology services firm -12/4/2014, 1:50 PM

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Animal shelter director expected to take job in Amarillo -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Kobach on schedule to address Hutch tea party -11/29/2014, 5:57 PM

Some like it not: Graffiti unwelcome -11/29/2014, 5:57 PM

Defendant in Fairmount Park attack now charged with capital murder -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Weigand shuffles executive leadership -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

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Sedgwick County property tax bills went out this week, some incorrectly -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Injured vet, family find reasons to be thankful through hard times -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Foster dad pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in baby's death in hot car -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

WSU to dedicate upgraded lab to study electrical power -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wilbur Middle School employee placed on leave after arrest -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wichita investors announce plan for southeast Kansas casino -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

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Speaker: Numbers, disastrous rollout show Americans really want affordable health insurance

Published on -5/15/2014, 10:50 AM

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By Kelsey Ryan

The Wichita Eagle

(MCT) There are still big hurdles for the Affordable Care Act -- and Medicaid expansion is one of them, said Sarah Kliff, a senior editor at media startup Vox, who spoke at the Sunflower Foundation's Advocacy in Health series Wednesday afternoon.

Kliff spoke about what's next for the Affordable Care Act and how political perception could affect the ongoing implementation of the law. Kansas is one of several states that has not yet made a decision to expand Medicaid -- a program for the poor and disabled -- so that more people can have access to health insurance.

"Obamacare is still very controversial," Kliff said. "Midterms are around the corner and I think if you're a conservative legislator the last thing you probably want to do is associate yourself with a program supporting Obamacare."

However, there are several states with Republican governors who are working on alternatives to traditional expansion, including Arkansas, Kliff said.

There is no doubt that the rollout of HealthCare.gov -- a major pillar of the Affordable Care Act -- was a disaster, Kliff said.

But the government surpassed its goal of enrolling 7 million Americans, and the biggest surge in enrollment was right before the deadline in March.

"On a policy level it's not particularly important that the White House beat the 7 million projection. It's more of a political yardstick in Washington. Did they hit the metric? Did they not?" Kliff said.

"But what's going to matter more policy-wise is who signed up, how healthy they are, how much insurance they're going to use. What the 8 million number tells me is there are people out there who want to buy the thing the Obama administration is selling on the exchange."

"And actually, what this really terrible rollout tells us is that they want it so much that they're going to deal with a website that doesn't really work. A lot of people I talked to tried upward of 20 times to buy health insurance."

The biggest barrier to coverage is cost, Kliff said. She mentioned a Kaiser poll that showed 39 percent of the uninsured who were eligible said they didn't get coverage because it was too expensive.

And it's clear that many Americans still don't understand the law, she said.

Last spring, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll showed that 4 in 10 Americans weren't sure if the health law was still standing.

The anxiety over the success of the Affordable Care Act and reluctance of people to sign up is similar to when the Medicaid program first rolled out, Kliff said.

"When Medicaid started in 1966, it actually only had half the states on board," Kliff said. "It was then an optional program and still is an optional program. A state could pull out of Medicaid tomorrow if they decided not to (participate), but it turns out states really like federal money so they tend to stay in the Medicaid program. We did not get to all 50 states on Medicaid until 1989."

Kliff, along with other journalists, left the Washington Post for Vox earlier this year. While at the Post, she covered health policy and helped found Wonkblog, which covered government policy. She previously covered health policy at Politico.

The Sunflower Foundation, which is in Topeka, was formed in 2000 as part of a $75 million settlement between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the state attorney general and the insurance commissioner. It was formed to resolve lawsuits over Blue Cross' charitable assets from 1941 to 1969, according to its website.

Its goal is to help improve the health of Kansans through programs that focus on preventive health care, reducing tobacco use and serving the poor and uninsured.

(c)2014 The Wichita Eagle

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