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Kansas House gives final approval to Medicaid expansion plan

Posted: 1:34 PM, Mar 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-21 18:45:38Z
Medicaid expansion supporters force debate in Kansas House

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A modified version of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's plan for expanding Medicaid in Kansas has cleared the House with bipartisan support.

The House's 69-54 vote Thursday sends an expansion bill to the Senate. Its future there is uncertain.

Republican legislative leaders oppose Medicaid expansion. They argue that it will be expensive for the state despite the federal government's promise to cover 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid health coverage for up to 150,000 additional Kansas residents.

But 28 of the House's 84 Republicans broke with their leaders and joined the chamber's 41 Democrats in voting yes.

Supporters believe the bill will help struggling families and financially strapped rural hospitals. They added a provision ending the expansion within a year if the federal government breaks its funding promise.

In a statement, Kelly applauded the House vote and "the work of so many advocates and citizens who worked tirelessly to make their voices heard on this issue."

“Medicaid expansion is one of the most critical issues impacting our state’s future," she said. "It will allow up to 150,000 more Kansans access to affordable healthcare, support local hospitals and clinics and impact our economy for the better."