Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Kansas legislature votes to expand Medicaid, but governor may issue a veto and make it stick

The Kansas Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to expand Medicaid expansion in the state, Hunter Woodall reports for The Kansas City Star. By a vote of 25-14 the Senate passed "a bill that would expand coverage of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, to roughly 150,000 people in the state," most of them rural residents. The bill now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who is against expansion, but "has not said whether he will veto the legislation."

Lawmakers already are preparing for a possible veto override, Woodall writes. "Brownback will have 10 days from the time he gets the bill to decide whether to veto it, sign it or let it become law without his signature. If Brownback does veto the bill, it will take 84 votes in the House and 27 votes in the Senate to override his veto."

"The bill was supported by a majority of Republicans in the Senate, though by a narrow margin," Woodall writes. "Sixteen Senate Republicans voted for the bill, while 14 voted it down. Many conservative Republicans strongly opposed the legislation, though that opposition wasn’t enough to defeat the bill. Expansion proponents will need to flip at least two of the 14 conservatives in the Senate to a yes vote to override a veto. That may be a tough task, as conservative lawmakers were already saying after the vote that they would not be flipped and were hopeful the Senate, or even the House, could defeat a veto-override effort."

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