Federal government offering states like Kansas more money to expand Medicaid

April 7, 2021
In The News

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says new federal rules make it "dumber than ever" for the state not to expand Medicaid.


She talked to KMBC's Micheal Mahoney Wednesday about the financial incentives from Washington to make more people eligible.


A busy day for the dentists at Olathe's Health Partnership Clinic. Washington is encouraging Kansas and the remaining states who have not expanded Medicaid more money to do it.


"The federal government is making even dumber than before not to expand it," Kelly said.


Washington is offering Kansas $250 million more for the next two years to expand Medicaid. That's on top of picking up 90% of the cost in the first year. Some of the patients at the Health Partnership Clinic could be among the 165,000 Kansans who would be covered by Medicaid expansion.


"We'd have better health outcomes. Our economy will be better. And we will get on the other side of this pandemic much, much quicker," U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids said.


Kelly's plan for Medicaid expansion includes legalizing medical marijuana in Kansas and using that money to pay for expansion. The Kansas version of medical marijuana is more restrictive than the Missouri law that's now on the books.


The Kansas plan also has a long way to go in Topeka. April is late in the legislative ball game.


"Usually, it is in the late part of the ball game when important things get done," Kelly said.


Kelly said she expects the fate of Medicaid expansion and medical marijuana to be decided in the final days of the Legislature.


The governor said that if she does not get Medicaid expansion approved this year, she will come back again in 2022.