TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) Supporters of expanding Medicaid in Kansas forced a debate Wednesday in the Republican-controlled Legislature on Democratic Gov. Laura Kellys plan and advanced an expansion bill with bipartisan support over GOP leaders objections.
The House voted 70-54 to give first-round approval to a modified version of Kellys plan for expanding Medicaid health coverage to as many as 150,000 more residents. House members planned to take another, final vote Thursday to determine whether it will pass and go to the Senate, but the debate on it showed that the support for it was solid.
While expansion supporters face a fight in the GOP-controlled Senate, events in the House were a significant victory when Kellys plan remained bottled up in committees for weeks with no sense that a vote or even a hearing was coming. Republicans hold an 84-41 majority in the House, and Medicaid expansion opponents hold key positions, but 29 GOP members sided with the Democrats in advancing the bill.