By Burdett Loomis | May 27, 2021
“My Republican colleagues will not talk about Medicaid expansion. They just won’t. I don’t understand it.”
So said first-term Representative Christina Haswood this past week during a discussion of the 2021 legislative session, responding to a question about what had surprised her at the Capitol.
As a student of legislatures, I find this disheartening and a bit surprising. After all, talking is what lawmakers do, much of the time. Moreover, on a major issue like this, one expects spirited debate and engagement. We have had it in the past, but no more.
As Rep. Haswood reports, there is an almost total unwillingness to even mention the issue.
So, why this reluctance to engage, especially on an issue of immense fiscal and health importance to Kansans? My hunch is that GOP lawmakers have no serious policy response because they have no policy, just a reflexive “no” to expansion, especially when backed by a Democrat governor.