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Lawmaker Pushing To Include Medicaid Expansion In Budget Negotiations

Several Kansas lawmakers are telling Republican leaders they won't vote to increase taxes unless they also get a chance to vote on a Medicaid expansion plan.

The legislator leading the effort says including expansion in the package being negotiated to balance the budget could influence the votes of up to 20 moderate Republicans in the House.

Jim McLean has more.

Rep. Tom Sloan, a moderate Republican from Lawrence, has provided House leaders with a plan that generates the $68 million needed to fund Medicaid expansion, plus another $39 million to help balance the state budget.

Sloan says Republican leaders struggling to close a projected budget deficit of more than $400 million won’t get moderate Republican and Democratic votes if they continue to push for big increases in the state’s sales tax. They need to also include Medicaid expansion in the package and a partial rollback of Gov. Sam Brownback’s 2012 income tax cuts for businesses.

“If all you’re doing is saying Medicaid is off the table and business taxes are off the table, then there’s no reason for most of the moderate Republicans or any Democrat to vote for it," Sloan says.

Sloan’s proposal would make hundreds of thousands of Kansas adults, many of whom are now uninsured, eligible for the state’s Medicaid program, known as KanCare.

Read the full story from KHI News Service here