Kansas governor pushes to expand Medicaid in 2nd term
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Laura Kelly will serve as Kansas’ governor for the next four years and with a second term comes a list of priorities. Kelly said she will focus on five objectives, starting next year. Those include providing tax relief, expanding Medicaid, legalizing medical marijuana, protecting first responders and investing in mental health resources.
With a majority of Republicans in the Kansas Legislature, there’s a question of whether Medicaid expansion can become a reality. Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson is among the state’s conservative leaders opposed to expanding Medicaid, despite survey results showing support for it.
“There is nothing in either the results from Kansas or around the country that suggests anyone is clamoring for spending more of their tax dollars or expanding government and providing able-boded adults more incentive not to work,” Masterson said.
Currently, the federal government covers 90% of the cost of Medicaid coverage for adults covered through the Affordable Care Act expansion.
State lawmaker Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Wichita Democrat, said health care is a basic human right.
“It’s about all of us, who are elected, to help our constituents. and i know that people would benefit from Medicaid expansion,” Faust-Goudeau said.
It’s a similar opinion held by Kelly who on social media, shared her continued support for expanding Medicaid so that, 150,000 hardworking Kansans have access to affordable healthcare.
“It’s overdue that we pass Medicaid expansion in the state of Kansas,” Faust-Goudeau said. “I actually knew people who died of Covid and they were afraid to go to the hospital, they were afraid to create a medical bill. We need to do better.”
According to the annual Kansas Speaks survey of 520 adults, nearly 72% support expanding Medicaid in Kansas.
“The last two years have actually shown some growth in support for Medicaid expansion up from the lowest 60% range supporting it, up to 72-73% supporting it,” said Docking Institute of Public Affairs Director for Fort Hays State University, Dr. Brett Zollinger.
Currently, Medicaid coverage for all states is based on income, household size, disability, family status and other factors. People in states with Medicaid expansion simply qualify based on income.
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