May 27, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Kansas GOP leaders react to Medicaid expansion agreement

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Over the weekend more Kansas politicians and stakeholders chimed in on the Medicaid expansion agreement announced last week in Topeka between Governor Laura Kelly and Senate Majority leader Jim Denning (R-Overland Park.)

A joint statement by four different Johnson County conservative groups made it clear that Sen. Denning’s compromise was against the Republican party platform. The statement was signed by the Olathe Republican Party, Conservative Republicans of Southern Johnson County, Northeast Johnson Conservatives, and Northwest Johnson County Republicans.

“Not only a few Senate Republicans but also some House Republicans as well have decided to breach their obligations to serve the leadership and registered Republicans residing throughout our State,” the statement read.

In a phone call with the Sentinel, Chairman Tony Gillette of Northwest Johnson County Conservatives explained why the group does not back expansion.

“Although we respect Senator Denning and his leadership position in Johnson County especially, we couldn’t disagree more with the capitulation on the issue of expansion of Medicaid,” said Gillette.

Gillette says Article eight-under healthcare of the  Kansas Republican Party platform – reads, “We ask that the governor and/or legislators refrain from expanding Medicaid and other federal health care programs.”

Republicans statewide are voicing concern that 11 Republican state senators are endorsing legislation that goes against the platform. On Friday the Sentinel published survey results that show the majority of Kansans do not want Medicaid to expand when they were asked how to pay for it. Survey results trumpeted by the Kelly administration in the past have said Kansans support Medicaid expansion. However, the numbers dramatically shift when voters are asked how to pay for it.

The Sentinel asked Sen. Denning what he conceded for his support for full Medicaid expansion. In response, he provided a memo comparing the new bill with HB 2066 that the House passed last year.

The debate over Kansas Medicaid expansion is coming at a time when New York state is struggling to close a multi-billion dollar Medicaid deficit. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a 1% cut to Medicaid fees, but that has met opposition from hospitals and healthcare providers. The cuts would only save about $124 million according to the Empire Center.

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