Brownback vetoes Medicaid expansion, saying it’s ‘bad for Kansas’

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen, March 30, 2017

Brownback's tweet on his veto is shown

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Thursday morning on Twitter
he had vetoed Medicaid expansion, saying it doesn’t
prioritize the vulnerable or defund Planned Parenthood.

Gov. Sam Brownback has vetoed a Medicaid expansion bill that sailed through the House and Senate this session with potential to increase health care coverage to around 150,000 low-income Kansans.

“I vetoed Medicaid expansion,” read a message Thursday morning on the governor’s Twitter account. “It does not prioritize the vulnerable.”

He also said the bill fails to defund Planned Parenthood, “isn’t responsible” and is “bad for Kansas.”

Some proponents of the bill in the Legislature have expressed concern the Senate won’t be able to rally enough members to overcome Brownback’s veto.

That would mirror a situation last month, when the governor axed a tax hike that passed the House and Senate. The House mustered enough votes to override his decision, but the Senate fell three short.

“I’m hopeful that we will come up with the votes we need in the House,” said Rep. Brett Parker, D-Overland Park. “This is not a partisan issue. Vice President Pence expanded Medicaid in Indiana. It’s been too long of a wait in Kansas.”

Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, also referenced the actions of Mike Pence and other Republicans.

“I am greatly disappointed in the governor’s refusal to act as so many other Republican governors have. And it makes me question his motivation,” Clayton said. “Many members of the Johnson County delegation should be aware and are aware that our joint chambers of commerce have Medicaid expansion as one of the top priorities, if not the No. 1 priority, on their legislative agenda. Any pro-business Republican would serve themselves well by voting to override.”

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, called governor’s move “a great decision that protects our most vulnerable citizens.”

“Medicaid expansion shifts the focus off our most vulnerable citizens — disabled, children, pregnant women, the elderly,” she said, “and redirects it to able-bodied people.”

The governor has repeatedly made the same argument, though groups that advocate for seniors and the disabled are pushing for Medicaid expansion, unswayed by those claims.

Pilcher-Cook suggested the support of groups like the Disability Rights Center of Kansas is due to misinformation about how Medicaid expansion would play out.

Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said he had heard talk of a possible override attempt in the House within the day.

Related article, Brownback vetoes Medicaid expansion, House debating override

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