Kansas governor vetoes Medicaid expansion

Medicaid is the joint state-federal health insurance plan for people with low incomes, the disabled, children and some elderly.

Sam Brownback (C) makes remarks during a panel discussion as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (L) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker listen during a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, February 23, 2017.

By a vote of 25-14, the Kansas Senate Tuesday approved an expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act. That's true even though Kansans last fall ousted numerous Legislature's most conservative members, making it more moderate and more responsive to the state's residents. He said a state law banning Medicaid expansion violates his executive authority.

"We see time and time again, individuals who have chronic health conditions that, if they were managed, could be working, productive members of our community", she said.

More states appear to be considering Medicaid expansion in the wake of the GOP's defeated replacement bill. Democratic governors are pursuing expansions in North Carolina and Virginia; an initiative is on the ballot in November in Maine.

A veto would give the legislature 30 days to override the governor or accept his decision.

He added it was "unwise to undertake such a drastic change" to the state's Medicaid program while work on an ACA overhaul was underway in Washington.

Rep. Susan Concannon, the Republican who introduced a veto override in the House shortly after the governor's veto Thursday, said supporters of expansion are just one vote short of the 84 votes they need to override.

Expanding Medicaid enrollment to childless adults near the poverty line, as New Jersey has done, was one of the key goals of the Affordable Care Act, which boosted the number of people receiving care through Medicaid by more than 11 million to 74 million. If so, the crumbling of the GOP health bill last week should make it clear that the joke is on those states - and their residents. While the move would cost Kansas some money over the coming years, it would bring in far more in federal funding while potentially extending health insurance to some 150,000 Kansans. The general consensus is that about 50,000 South Dakotans will become eligible for Medicaid benefits under Daugaard's expansion plan, which in the governor's words previous year had the support of "80 hospitals and clinics, as well as 50 other organizations in South Dakota".

"There's no question in my mind that this would be a huge cost to the state", said Shawn Sullivan, the governor's budget director. Yet supporters have scored a significant gain by getting a bill so close to passage.

"I don't believe that we can wait for D.C.", said Sen.

There are signs that more states might try to follow Kansas's lead. "Those hospitals were having to absorb a lot of that".

Information for this article was contributed by Jose A. DelReal of The Washington Post and by John Hanna and Allison Kite of The Associated Press. "We owe the state of Arkansas a budget and I think most people understand that".

"I will not support this legislation that continues to fund organizations that undermine a culture of life", he said, referring to groups such as Planned Parenthood, which provides a range of reproductive services including abortions. "It also confirms that the Kansas House and Senate were right to consider and advance legislation to expand KanCare this session".

  • Larry Hoffman