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For the first time in decades the uninsured rate in Kansas is higher than the U.S. average

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Kaiser Health News
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Kansans are now less likely to have health insurance than the U.S. population as a whole.

Historically, the number of Kansans with health insurance was a couple of percentage points better than the United States. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, that is no longer the case.

The Census Bureau has announced some sober findings for the state of Kansas. The national rate of Americans without health insurance fell to its lowest level since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, but the uninsured rate in Kansas is now higher than the national rate.

Phillip Steiner, a senior analyst at the Kansas Health Institute, said his team was shocked and this was a milestone they didn’t want to reach.

"The data we have goes back to 1999. And historically, Kansas was about a couple percentage points better than the United States. Then once the Affordable Care Act passed, that number caught up and it was essentially like a statistical tie," Steiner said.

Kansas Health Institute researchers also found that Kansas residents who identify as Hispanic or Black were more likely to be uninsured in Kansas than in the U.S. In fact, results from the 2021 American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau found that:

  • 20.3% of Kansas residents who identify as Hispanic were uninsured, which was a decrease from the 23.3% who were uninsured in 2019, but still higher than the 17.7% of Hispanic residents uninsured across the country.
  • 14.1% of Kansas residents who identify as Black or African American were uninsured compared to 9.6% across the country.

The U.S. Census Bureau will release additional data with state-level detail on October 20, 2022.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
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