Obamacare Is the Law of the Land, and Kansas Republicans Couldn’t Be Happier

Medicaid expansion keeps moving forward in this deep-red state.

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Many Republican politicians are already moving on from Paul Ryan and Donald Trump’s failure to repeal Obamacare—and in one state, they’re accepting that reality by embracing a key measure in the Affordable Care Act.

On Monday evening, the Kansas state Senate voted to accept the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, a policy that allows states to enroll anyone earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line in the government’s health insurance program for the poor. The feds will provide the vast majority of the funding for these new recipients.

A coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats in the state Senate supported the measure, which passed by a vote of 25-13. The state House voted overwhelming for Medicaid expansion earlier this year. Ryan and Trump’s Obamacare repeal bill would have effectively barred Kansas from signing up for the program. After the national GOP’s bill failed Friday, Kansas Republicans wasted little time moving forward.

Medicaid expansion still faces a major obstacle in Kansas. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has repeatedly signaled his opposition and is expected to veto the bill. The state Legislature could override that veto—as they came close to doing with a tax reform measure earlier this year—but that requires a two-thirds majority in each chamber. In the state House and Senate, Medicaid expansion was two and three votes shy, respectively, of that super-majority.

Kansas is one of 19 states that have rejected the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, costing the state nearly $1.8 billion in federal funding to date. A study by the Kansas Health Institute projects that more than 150,000 people in the state would sign up if expansion were implemented.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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