How Political Maneuvering Derailed A Red State’s Path To Medicaid Expansion

By Lauren Weber | Sept. 6, 2019

TOPEKA, Kan. — This was supposed to be the year Medicaid expansion finally happened in Kansas.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, elected in November, had run on the issue. She triumphed in a state that had gone for Trump in 2016 by more than 20 percentage points and replaced a Republican governor who had vetoed a previous expansion bill.

Approximately 130,000 low-income people — roughly 4.5% of the 2.9 million people in the state — would be newly eligible for health insurance under the expansion, which is possible because of the federal Affordable Care Act.

But, this time around, a bill to enact Medicaid expansion never got to the Senate floor, even though the new governor and a newly empowered coalition of Democratic and moderate Republican legislators supported it.

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