The first hurdle to the 2019 Kansas Legislature passing Medicaid expansion has been cleared, as the Kansas House initially passed the concept Wednesday on a 70-54 division vote. The measure initially began as one to allow more flexibility for APRN’s in the state, but then was amended to replace that language with the Medicaid expansion language.

“As sad as it is that we haven’t had a chance to pass the expansion before now, we have the benefit of what those 36 states have done, and I believe firmly that our numbers are right,” said Democrat Kathy Wolfe Moore. “I believe that our fiscal note is right and I believe that this will pay for itself.”

The measure would allow for Medicaid coverage to be expanded to all Kansans falling below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. An amendment was added on to the bill prohibiting any funding under the new Medicaid expansion to be used for abortions. There is also a provision to put some skin in the game for the new recipients.

“KDHE would be able to charge anybody that is enrolled into the KanCare Bridge to a Healthy Kansas program a $25 monthly fee as participation in the program, with a maximum amount of $100 per family household,” said Republican Troy Waymaster.

If a household missed three months of payments, they would be out for three months, and on the third time of missing payments, they would be out of the program.

Medicaid expansion passed out of the Kansas Legislature once before, in 2017, but was vetoed by then Governor Sam Brownback. Governor Laura Kelly campaigned hard for the expansion. It is presumed she would sign a bill should it come to her desk. The bill will be on final action Thursday and then go over to the Senate.