Local House members split on Medicaid expansion with Senate discussion likely next week Featured

Local House members split on Medicaid expansion with Senate discussion likely next week KVOE News file photo

Medicaid expansion is now headed to the Kansas Senate after the House of Representatives approved House Bill 2066 late Thursday.


The vote was 69-54 in favor, with 60th District Representative Mark Schreiber of Emporia voting for the bill. 51st District Rep. Ron Highland of Wamego and 76th District Rep. Eric Smith of Burlington voted against it.

Highland says his opposition comes from a lack of certainty over just how much expansion will cost.

Smith agrees and says participation estimates from the Kansas Health Institute have also come down over time.

Schreiber understands the concerns, but he believes it's best to have health insurance available for as many people as possible.

 

Thursday's vote comes as the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce Government Matters Committee and League of Women Voters finish planning for Saturday's Legislative Dialogue at Emporia Presbyterian Manor. Coffee and rolls will be served at 8 am, with the discussion starting at 8:30 am. As always, the event is open to the public.

5:30 am Friday: Medicaid expansion passes Kansas House

The Kansas House has passed a plan to expand Medicaid.


The vote on House Bill 2066 was 69-54 in favor Thursday, with 60th District Representative Mark Schreiber of Emporia voting for the bill. 51st District Rep. Ron Highland of Wamego and 76th District Rep. Eric Smith of Burlington voted against it.

Gov. Laura Kelly has made expansion of Medicaid, known statewide as KanCare, one of her top priorities even before officially taking office in January. The Kelly administration set aside roughly $12 million initially to handle the expansion, a number critics and the Kansas Health Institute have said is lower than needed. The administration also says the money will bring around $1 billion in federal funding to the state. Critics say that money could go away if the federal government ends its financial support of the Affordable Care Act.

The Kelly administration estimated an additional 130,000 Kansans would have access to health insurance by expanding Medicaid -- which already serves over 400,000 seniors, low-income families and disabled adults.

Currently, residents have to make less than 38 percent of federal poverty guidelines to qualify. The Affordable Care Act increases that benchmark to 138 percent.

KVOE News is reaching out to local and area lawmakers for comment.

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Last modified on Friday, 22 March 2019 12:01
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