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Wichita craftsman the 'face' of KanCare expansion

Jimmy Olson KanCare expansion

Jimmy Olson, a tile craftsman in Wichita, is one of the estimated 70,000 working Kansans who would receive healthcare coverage if the state’s KanCare Medicaid program is expanded for those who are struggling financially.

Jimmy, who is married and has a 17-year-old daughter, has worked his entire life and operates The Tile Works, a one-man tile installation business.

He is among 70,000 Kansans who are working and fall in an insurance coverage gap – they earn too much money to qualify for the current KanCare program but also don’t qualify for federal subsidies to make purchasing coverage more affordable on the state health insurance exchanges created as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Olson, 54, suffers from spinal stenosis, a side effect of the decades he’s worked as a manual laborer, and has had three heart attacks.

“Every time I get a little ahead, either my van breaks down or my health does,” he says.

Via Christi and a coalition of 26 other business and healthcare organizations are trying to persuade Republican state lawmakers to expand health insurance coverage to help Kansans like Jimmy Olson.