By Paul Krugman | June 24, 2019

When Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning kept Kansas from expanding Medicaid for yet another year — and yes, he deserves credit for keeping some 150,000 Kansans uninsured even now — he insisted that it would just have to wait because there was so much heavy legislative lifting yet to be done.

“I’m not saying no,” he said, all innocence on the May day he blocked debate. “I’m saying this policy isn’t ready.”

These things can’t be rushed, the Overland Park Republican said then, a full five years into the effort to close the coverage gap for those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to get subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The Kansas GOP’s refusal to expand Medicaid has meant losing out on the $3 billion in federal funds that could have been helping the state’s people and rural hospitals all this time. The insurance plans that Kansas lawmakers did legalize this year are unregulated and may not cover people with preexisting conditions.

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