Parsons family advocates for Kansas lawmakers to expand Medicaid

PARSONS, Ks.–With Missouri recently beginning its Medicaid expansion, those still needing coverage in nearby states like Kansas are looking to close, “the coverage gap”.

Michael Priesmeyer, a Parsons resident, has multiple disabilities such as severe ADHD and low IQ.

Despite this, he doesn’t qualify for social security disability insurance, ADA, or Kansas Medicaid, leaving him without coverage.

“It’s like a slap in the face, it’s just been, it’s not been a very good experience,” Priesmeyer said. 

“He can’t get the medicine because he can’t get the medical card, he can’t get a medical card because he doesn’t qualify for it either, social security disability and then he doesn’t qualify for the ADA,” said his adopted mother Vicki Pribble. 

Now, he and his adopted mother are speaking out to ask Kansas legislators to expand Medicaid.

“There’s more people than just Michael out there in this vicious circle,” Pribble said. 

This circle is something a senior policy analyst at the center on budget and policy priorities says is known as the “coverage gap.”

“So people in the coverage gap, they’re making too much money to get Medicaid but also not enough money to go onto healthcare dot gov, the marketplace option, they’re not able to get subsidies on the marketplace, because as originally envisioned through the affordable care act people were going to be getting Medicaid coverage, but again those states that decided not to expand Medicaid don’t have that option…Kansas is now one of twelve states,” said analyst Laura Harker.

Right now, state GOP lawmakers are opposed to the expansion due to the price, and there is no current action being taken to expand. 

But in neighboring states like Missouri, Medicaid expansion has already started. 

This is why Michael and Vicki say they’re speaking out to demand action in Kansas.

“It’s hard enough for me to deal with this stuff without medication, so I know the feeling, I just don’t want someone like me going through the same thing,” Priesmeyer said.