Medicaid debate slows budget prep

By

State News

April 9, 2019 - 10:31 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A legislative fight over expanding Medicaid in Kansas is delaying approval of the state’s next annual budget as expansion supporters try to keep Republican opponents from blocking it for another year.

Some top GOP lawmakers are conceding that an expansion plan could pass because expansion is a priority for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and has bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled Legislature. However, opponents hope for time this summer and fall to develop a smaller program than Kelly wants with restrictions she opposes, such as a work requirement for participants.

Expansion became a sticking point in budget negotiations between the House and Senate, causing lawmakers to put off votes until May on any part of the state’s spending blueprint for the fiscal year beginning in July. Potential expansion costs are hotly debated, but the disagreement in budget talks is over how much to tie Kelly’s hands as she pursues expansion this year.

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