Kansas Democrats get Medicaid expansion through the state House

Democratic state Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore secured the first win in Kansas’ legislature to extend healthcare coverage to 130,000 low-income Kansans. Republican leadership had been blockading expansion through the session, but through a procedural motion and with enough Republican support, Wolfe Moore got the bill to the floor Wednesday.

“Today is most definitely the day to stand with the people of Kansas,” Wolfe Moore said, as the chamber advanced the expansion package by a 70-54 vote. On Thursday, the House passed the final version, sending it on the Senate. “This was a rare demonstration of political bravery in the House,” said Democratic Rep. Brett Parker. “Kansans are better off for the bipartisan coalition that cast aside partisan obstruction to deliver a desperately needed policy.”

It didn’t come without Republican amendments. They got provisions blocking abortion coverage and a $25-per-month service cost for enrollees, with a $100 cap for a single household. Acceptance of that provision staved off a more punitive work requirement for new enrollees. It should provide enough revenue to pay the state’s portion of the expansion. As a way to mollify Republicans, Wolfe Moore added a provision that authorizes the state Department of Health and Environment to back out of expansion if the federal match rate drops below 90 percent. That’s unlikely to happen, even under Trump.

It’s also a win for newly elected Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, as well as for the state’s people. There’s nothing wrong with Kansas this week.

 

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