Cameron Burnett | KAKE News
September 20, 2023
WINFIELD, Kan. (KAKE) – The fight over who should get Kansas Medicaid benefits is back on. Governor Laura Kelly kicked off a statewide lobbying tour with the announcement that Medicaid expansion is her number one priority this year.
Senior political reporter Pilar Pedraza shows us that despite public support, legislative leadership is already pushing back.
“I refuse to give up on this fight,” Governor Laura Kelly said Wednesday reigniting the battle over Medicaid expansion in the state.
From hospital leaders and business owners to the Kansans most directly affected, dozens gathered in Winfield Wednesday to support her renewed push.
Chandra Dickson says her mother fell into the healthcare gap, making too much to be eligible for Medicaid, but too little to buy insurance on the exchange.
“She died from a cancer that for most people with health insurance is curable,” Dickson said. “My mother is not the only person who has had to face these kinds of choices in Kansas.”
Melissa Dodge can only work part-time so she can be home for her two children with special needs.
“The struggle of providing for my family, which in turn, means putting myself on the back burner from the health aspect,” Dodge said. “Which is what leaves me in the gap and the anxiety that comes with that.”
The governor quoted a study from Alliance for a Healthy Kansas that shows 78% of Kansans want Medicaid expansion, adding that many Republican lawmakers do too. Kelly called on them to push leadership for a debate and vote this year, saying Kansas has left more than 6.5 billion of your tax dollars in Washington D.C. by not expanding. She continued to say that losing healthcare workers to the Republican states around us have already expanded.
“Your colleagues did not elect you, your constituents did,” Kelly said Wednesday. “I implore you to start taking positions that reflect their wants and their needs, even if those positions are at odds with leadership.”