Incoming Kansas governor to offer Medicaid expansion proposal

Incoming Kansas governor to offer Medicaid expansion proposal
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Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly (D) said she believes the state will expand Medicaid next year and will put together a proposal to do so.

In an interview with the Wichita Eagle, Kelly said if the state legislature passes an expansion bill, she will sign it.

“It’s not up to me to pass Medicaid expansion, it’s up to the legislature to do that and I fully expect that they will address that issue this [next] year and if they put a bill on my desk and it does what it needs to do, I will sign it,” Kelly said.

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Kelly told the Eagle that she plans to offer an expansion proposal.

“We will be putting together a Medicaid work group and we will look at what other states have done with expansion and how they’ve approached that and what the fiscal impacts have been and we will propose something we can do within our budget,” Kelly said.

Kelly, who defeated Republican Kris Kobach, made Medicaid expansion a priority of her campaign.

The legislature approved Medicaid expansion last year, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Sam Brownback (R). Lawmakers were unable to gain enough votes to override the veto. With Kelly’s support, an expansion bill will only need a simple majority to pass.

But GOP opposition to Medicaid expansion isn’t disappearing, and Kelly is likely to have to fight the Republican-dominated state legislature.

Advocates are hopeful that a supportive governor means expansion can get done next year, even though Democrats lost a few seats in the state legislature.