Kansas governor intensifies demand to broaden Medicare coverage

Kara Marxer
April 03, 2019 - 7:29 am

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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said Tuesday enough is enough, she wants Medicaid expansion now.

The governor turned up the heat on legislators whom she accuses of engaging in stall tactics and setting up bait-and-switch scenarios in an attempt to block improvements to KanCare, the state's Medicaid program for lower-income individuals and families. The effort to expand KanCare to as many as 150,000 additional Kansans was a centerpiece in the governor's successful 2018 election campaign. 

"Kansas has forfeited over $3.2 billion in tax money to other states," Kelly said. "We keep watching our hospitals close."

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle said her chamber would not bring any Medicaid expansion bill to the floor, saying the state should not "surrender to the mess of Obamacare in Kansas."

"A few members of Senate membership should not be able to block an initiative that will save lives, save money, and that 77 percent of Kansans support," Kelly said.

Wagle said Tuesday that a legislative committee would take a closer look at Medicaid expansion in the summer and fall with an eye toward finding proposals that would attract broader support from Republicans. Some lawmakers want to include a work requirement or drug testing for people who receive coverage.


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