Kansas mulls Medicaid expansion despite ACA repeal's potential impact

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Kansas lawmakers on Thursday moved forward a proposal that would expand the state's Medicaid program.

The state Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee's approval of HB 2044, described as “establishing the KanCare bridge to a healthy Kansas program and providing [Medicaid] reimbursement for clubhouse rehabilitation services,” to a full Senate vote.

The bill would boost Medicaid eligibility to an income of 133% of the federal poverty level, or $24,600 for a family of four. An additional 150,000 Kansans could gain coverage under the expansion.

Those in favor of expanding KanCare, the state's Medicaid program, said the state's proceedings shouldn't be swayed by debate over the GOP's healthcare proposal. Those against expanding Medicaid say it's better to wait and “see what happens in Washington,” The Kansas City Star reported.

“If you can predict what's going to happen in Washington, that would be great if we could be sure what's going to happen,” said Sen. Vicki Schmidt, (R), chairwoman of the committee. “But in the meantime, we have to move ahead as a state.”