Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Kansas legislature falls short of overriding governor's veto of Medicaid expansion

The Kansas House on Monday fell three votes short of overriding Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a bill to expand Medicaid in the state, Peter Hancock reports for the Lawrence Journal-World. Expansion would have extended Medicaid coverage to an additional 150,000 people. The vote meant that the bill never returned to the Senate.

The final vote was 81-44, the same vote that passed the measure in February. Two lawmakers that voted against the bill in February voted in favor of overriding the veto, but two lawmakers who supported the bill, changed their votes for the veto override, Hancock reports. One who switched to favor the bill said he voted to help struggling hospitals in his district.

Brownback, a critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, "argued in his veto message that expanding Medicaid would burden the state with what he called 'unrestrainable' costs," Hancock writes. He also argued "that the bill 'funnels more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry." A Catholic Democrat noted that all four Kansas bishops support expansion.

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