KanCare

File Photo/Kansas News Service

A third of the way to an end-of-year deadline, Kansas officials still do not have federal approval to extend KanCare.

In January, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services denied the state’s request for a one-year extension of the waiver that allowed it to privatize its Medicaid program. The denial letter said neither the Kansas Department of Health and Environment nor the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services was doing enough to hold the three private companies that run the program responsible for providing services accountable to Medicaid rules.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Several hundred people turned out Monday night to protest the possible closure of St. Francis Health in Topeka.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4 p.m. April 3.

A motion to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a bill to expand Medicaid eligibility failed Monday in the Kansas House. The 81-44 vote was three short of the override total needed to send the bill to the Senate.

Kansas Office of the Governor

Supporters of expanding Medicaid eligibility in Kansas are preparing to mount an intense lobbying campaign over the weekend to get the votes they need to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of an expansion bill.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Updated Tuesday at 10:41 a.m.

Buoyed by the failure of Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Kansas Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a Medicaid expansion bill in a 25-14 vote.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers are now a step away from what could be a showdown with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback on the political football issue of Medicaid expansion.

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday advanced an expansion bill to the full Senate for a vote supporters say will take place Monday.

“Hallelujah,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, immediately after the committee approved the bill on a voice vote with little debate.

Susie Fagan / Kansas News Service

Updated Thursday 11:06 a.m.

A dispute about the cost and potential benefits of expanding Medicaid eligibility heated up ahead of a Kansas Senate committee vote on a bill. The committee voted Thursday morning to send the expansion bill to the full Senate, which is expected to hold a vote Monday.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service/File photo

Opponents of expanding Medicaid in Kansas are challenging supporters’ claims about how much it would cost.

Susan Moiser runs the state agency that oversees KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. She’s challenging claims made by the Kansas Hospital Association and others that expansion would generate more than enough in revenue and cost savings to pay for itself.

Moiser says the estimates are based on flawed assumptions about the economic benefits of expansion and the extent to which federal funding could supplant state dollars.

Kansas lawmakers know they are late to the Medicaid expansion party, but they appear determined to show up anyway.

"I feel like now is as good a time as any," says Anthony Hensley, the leader of the Democratic minority in the state Senate.

For the past three years, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders were able to block debate on expanding health care for the disabled and working poor via Medicaid, a component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Not anymore.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

With all of the talk in recent years about Kansas’ budget problems, it can be hard to keep track of what programs have been cut and by how much.

So, some Kansans may not remember that last summer Gov. Sam Brownback ordered more than $56 million in cuts to KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. Including the amount of federal matching funds lost, the cuts amounted to $128 million.

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