March 28 The Kansas Senate gave final approval
on Tuesday to a bill expanding eligibility for Medicaid under
the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) even though the measure
faces a likely veto by Republican Governor Sam Brownback.
The 25-14 Senate vote followed the House's 81-44 passage of
the bill last month, with the vote totals falling short of
veto-proof margins in both Republican-controlled chambers.
In a tweet on Monday, Melika Willoughby, the governor's
spokeswoman, said instead of addressing the health care needs of
vulnerable residents in a sustainable way, the legislature was
choosing to expand "a failing entitlement program."
"To expand Obamacare when the program is in a death spiral
is not responsible policy," she tweeted.
After legislation to replace and repeal the act championed
by former President Barack Obama was pulled in the U.S. House
last week, President Donald Trump warned Obamacare would
collapse. The replacement bill pushed by House
Speaker Paul Ryan would have ended the ACA's expansion of
Medicaid, the federal and state funded insurance program for the
poor and disabled.
Kansas was not among the 31 states as of 2016 that had opted
to expand Medicaid with the federal government footing much of
the cost under Obamacare.
With the ACA's enhanced federal funding, Kansas' expansion
effective Jan. 1, 2018 would cost the state an estimated $31
million in fiscal 2018, which begins July 1, and $67 million in
fiscal 2019 with the addition of more than 180,000 recipients,
according to estimates cited in a legislative report on the
Without enhanced federal matching funds, the state's costs
would balloon to $465 million by fiscal 2019.
Kansas is already struggling with a structural budget
deficit largely due to tax cuts enacted in 2012. In addition,
the state supreme court ruled earlier this month that Kansas was
underfunding public schools in violation of a state
constitutional requirement for adequacy.
(Reporting By Karen Pierog; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)