Medicaid Expansion in Kansas Is Officially Dead

The House failed to override Gov. Brownback’s veto.

Joshua Roberts/ZUMA

The Kansas House of Representatives on Monday narrowly failed to overturn Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) veto of legislation that would have expanded Medicaid benefits to thousands of low-income residents of the state. Democrats and moderate Republicans joined forced to support the measure, but the 81-44 vote fell three votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed for a successful override.

The state House and Senate, both of which are controlled by Republicans, had previously voted to take advantage of a provision in Obamacare under which the federal government would cover the bulk of the cost of expanding the Kansas’ Medicaid program. It was estimated more than 150,000 additional people would have enrolled in the program had it become law.

Kansas was one of 19 states to opt out of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Amid the state’s ongoing economic struggles, however, many Republican lawmakers came to embrace the policy. On Thursday, Brownback vetoed the measure, calling Medicaid expansion “irresponsible and unsustainable.”

Check out Mother Jones’ previous reporting on how Kansas Republicans softened their hard-line stance on Obamacare.