The Kansas House did not have the votes to override a Gov. Brownback veto of legislation to expand Medicaid. House members needed 84 votes to override Brownback’s veto, but the vote fell three shy.
The vote count mirrored the original vote as the expansion proposal passed the House 81-44. However, four Republicans switched their votes on override. Reps. Fred Patton, Topeka, and Troy Waymaster, Bunker Hill, initially voted against expanding Medicaid, but both voted to override the Governor’s veto. Meanwhile, Reps. Clay Aurand, Belleville, and Tory Arnberger, Great Bend, initially voted in favor of expanding Medicaid, but they voted the other way on veto override.
Aurand explained his vote saying he hopes House leadership will commit to studying the issue and developing a more amenable plan.
“I campaigned on the idea that we could expand it,” Aurand said. “I went through the first time thinking it’s not perfect.”
He said he hoped there would be a chance for a conference committee and compromise, but that didn’t happen.
“I could go either way on this,” he said. “I want to get to something that is more amenable to both groups in here.”
Patton said he changed his vote in part, over concerns about people having access to health care.
“I have serious concerns with provisions in this plan,” he said in an official explanation of his vote. “However, with one local hospital for sale and both absorbing increasing financial pressures, I am also concerned with ensuring health care access for our families.”
Proponents of the legislation argued the expansion would provide health care for more than 150,000 Kansans, add jobs, and bolster rural hospitals. Opponents argued many of the people moving to the Medicaid rolls already have private insurance and that rural hospitals wouldn’t benefit enough to justify the cost of program expansion.
Brownback said he vetoed the legislation because it funneled money to Planned Parenthood, and gave funding preference to able-bodied adults.
“I am vetoing this expansion of Obamacare because it fails to serve the truly vulnerable before the able-bodied, lacks work requirements to help able-bodied Kansans escape poverty, and burdens the state budget with unrestrainable entitlement costs,” he said in a statement.
Brownback’s expansion veto is the second of the 2017 legislative session. Last month, he vetoed legislation to retroactively increase income taxes and roll back the LLC tax incentive. The House successfully overrode that veto, but it stalled in the Senate.