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.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.