Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley has prefiled a bill to expand Medicaid in Kansas in the 2020 legislative session. The bill in its current form is largely the same as the bill that passed the Kansas House in 2019 but was never heard in the Senate.

“The changes that I made are that the monthly insurance premium fee is up to $25, rather than fixed at $25,” said Hensley. “KDHE may grant a hardship exemption from having to pay that fee.”

Also, the House bill locked out people who didn’t pay the fee, while Hensley is taking out that provision and leaving it at the discretion of KDHE to keep people in the system.

“This is a very important issue,” said Hensley. “It’s been around for now the last five, almost six years. Governor Kelly supports Medicaid expansion, unlike Governor Brownback, who didn’t. It’s really been a political football that’s been kicked around. I think it’s now time that we expand Medicaid in Kansas, just as some 37 other states have done.”

The state is on solid enough fiscal footing that Hensley believes it can be paid for.

“The bill that I’m introducing would not have any tax increase,” said Hensley. “We don’t need to raise taxes in order to expand Medicaid. I do support the idea at some point of looking at reinsurance to allow people to get into the private marketplace, but I don’t think that’s a debate we should have, necessarily, this session. I think we ought to concentrate on the goal, which is to expand Medicaid.”

The bill could help as many as 150,000 Kansans get insurance.