Critical Condition: Stories of Health in the Heartland


This short film, created by award winning filmmaker Ky Dickens, features community members and health professionals from across Kansas sharing their challenges and triumphs as they strive to take care of themselves, their families, and their communities.

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Stephanie was just 30 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, she was working at a small business and was uninsured. Unsure how she would pay for her treatments, it was a huge relief when she found out she was eligible for Medicaid through the Breast and Cervical Cancer program. “Without Medicaid, I would not be alive today,” she said.



In 2017, when Linda was living in Illinois, she had a stroke and had to move back home to Humboldt, Kansas in order to be with family who could care for her. But she didn’t realize that while she was eligible for Medicaid in Illinois, she wasn’t eligible for the same coverage in Kansas. She was left uninsured, without access to the physical therapy she needs to recover and facing other serious health risks.



When Anthony gained custody of his son, Brayden, he was performing well below his grade level, and was diagnosed with a mood disorder and ADHD. Anthony immediately applied for Medicaid for his son, and the therapies and medications have made a huge difference. “Without Medicaid, there’s no way I could provide him with the services he needs,” Anthony said.



Geanna lives in a small town of 105 people in rural Kansas with her teenage daughter. She works three jobs, but still cannot afford health insurance, and doesn’t qualify for Medicaid. She hopes she can stay healthy enough to continue working and caring for her family, but she is unable to access the preventive care she needs.


What people are saying:

This film captured the sad reality of thousands of individuals in Kansas. I appreciate how the film humanized individuals who work so hard and struggle to have health insurance. That you for sharing these stories and continuing the conversation.  

This is a powerful film that tells the reality of life that many Americans face. I appreciate that there wasn’t any blame but just the truth and heart about the reality of life. A human issue.

More people need to understand how Medicaid can help people get and stay health to work and pay taxes and help keep hospitals and health care providers in rural communities.


Host a screening

Help your friends and neighbors learn about the real-life challenges face by people across Kansas. Our Screening Guide includes all the information you need to host an independent screening of ACS CAN’s new documentary Critical Condition: Stories of Health in the Heartland. Included, you will find: promotional content, instructions to access the full film, a discussion guide and more.

Would you like to share “Critical Condition: Stories of Health in the Heartland” with your network?

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Other films in this series:

On the Edge: Health Care in Alabama

Left Behind: Health and Hope in North Carolina

Medicaid Covers US

Visit our campaign home page to learn more about who is covered by Medicaid, why Medicaid is so important to our friends, neighbors, and community, and how to get involved.