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Candidate for Kansas Governor Outlines Health Plan

By Kelley Weiss

Kansas City, MO – Kansas Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Barnett has outlined a plan to give Kansans better access to health care. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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Kansas Senator Jim Barnett, a physician vying for the Governor's seat, says it's unacceptable for 300,000 Kansans to be uninsured and that the state needs to expand its preventative care and clinics for indigent populations.

The "Health Connector Plan" he's proposing would create a one-stop clearinghouse for health insurance buyers to choose from a variety of policies, which he says will cut costs for small businesses and low-wage workers. Barnett says this would be modeled after Massachusetts new universal health coverage, without the mandates.

Jim Barnett: "It's a safe estimate to make that about half of the current uninsured in Kansas can now have available to them health care insurance through this model."

Barnett's opponent, Governor Kathleen Sebelius, proposed a similar reform plan two years ago that would have been funded by increasing taxes on tobacco, but she didn't get much legislative support. If elected Barnett says he would implement the plan by 2010 and would not use taxes to fund the reform.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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