Kansas governor promises another push for Medicaid expansion
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly will push again this year to expand Medicaid in Kansas even though top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature are less receptive to the idea than they were last year.
“I will never stop fighting for Medicaid expansion,” she said during a recent Associated Press interview.
Kelly took office in January 2019 promising to make as many as 150,000 more Kansans eligible for the state’s health coverage for the poor and disabled. Some advocates have pushed for expansion for a decade.
Incoming Senate President Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, has opposed expansion. New Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican, ensured last year as Senate health committee chairman that a plan died there without a vote. The 2020 plan was developed by Kelly and Suellentrop’s predecessor as majority leader, Republican Jim Denning of Overland Park.
House GOP leaders have opposed expansion as well. The Republican supermajorities in both chambers became more conservative in last year’s elections.
“I didn’t say it would be easy,” Kelly said.
Suellentrop said Republican leaders have a long list of issues to tackle once lawmakers’ annual session convenes Jan. 11, and Medicaid expansion “is not on the radar.”
“Not even close,” he said.
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