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Kansas House Rule Blocks Medicaid Expansion Debate

Stephen Koranda

A rule in the Kansas House was used today to block a proposal to expand Medicaid.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward offered the budget amendment to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law. He says it would provide more than 150,000 Kansans with health care coverage.

“Over 50 percent of these are working Kansans who go to work every day but work in jobs that don’t pay enough to buy insurance or don’t provide employer-based insurance,” Ward says.

The House has a rule that bars adding more spending to the budget without a corresponding spending cut. That rule blocked consideration of the amendment, and there weren’t enough supporters in the chamber to overturn the ruling.

Ward argued that the proposal doesn’t violate the House rule because the federal government would initially be picking up the entire cost of Medicaid expansion.

Republicans have argued that expansion could create big costs for the state in the future.