Kansas Medicaid expansion bill likely dead after being tabled by committee

Feb 21, 2017

Credit KCUR

A bill that would have expanded Medicaid in Kansas was tabled Monday by the House Health and Human Services Committee.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the action effectively ends chances that the bill will be passed this session under legislative deadlines.

Medicaid, called KanCare in Kansas, is the government insurance program for people with low incomes or who are disabled. Hospitals and health groups have pushed for the state to expand eligibility to more than 150,000 Kansans under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The state would bring in more than $1 billion in federal funding if it chose to expand.

Proponents of expansion are concerned that without the additional funds, hospitals across the state, especially rural ones, would be vulnerable to closing.

Electoral advances by Democrats and moderate Republicans during the primary and general election generated some momentum for Medicaid expansion. Multiple freshman lawmakers pointed to the public support for expansion they saw on the campaign trail.

Skeptical Republican lawmakers were worried expansion would worsen the state’s fiscal condition and contribute to a ballooning national debt.