GOP leader’s Medicaid plan would boost tobacco taxes


State News

October 22, 2019 - 10:06 AM

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Republican leader spearheading an effort to pass a GOP plan for expanding Medicaid in Kansas has drafted a proposal that is likely to upset conservatives because it would increase tobacco taxes and does not include a work requirement for program participants.

The proposal from Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning also differs significantly from an expansion plan backed by Gov. Laura Kelly and fellow Democrats. It contains provisions designed to keep some working-class Kansans in private health plans, rather than having them receive state Medicaid coverage, as plans favored by Democrats would.

The plan outlined by Denning, a Kansas City-area Republican, is designed not only to expand the state’s $3.8 billion-a-year Medicaid program but lower premiums paid by Kansas consumers who buy their insurance through an online federal marketplace set up under the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act. New tobacco tax dollars would be used for that purpose.

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