If Kansas opts to expand Medicaid, it won’t happen until at least next year.
A new measure, signed into law late last week by Gov. Sam Brownback (R), requires that any expansion of Medicaid be explicitly approved by the state legislature, which has finished its regular session for the year.
“It doesn’t take a position on whether or not Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act should take place in Kansas. But what it does say is it should be up to the people’s elected representatives to make that decision,” Rep. John Rubin, a Republican state legislator, told the Wichita Eagle.
The law means that even if Democrat Paul Davis succeeds in taking Brownback’s seat this fall, he will still lack the authority to implement the law unilaterally.
Twenty-six states opted to expand Medicaid using federal funds made available under the president’s landmark health-care law. Several of the 24 states that have opted not to expand the program under the law are pursuing alternatives. Utah, in particular, has already won a key concession in implementing the law and hopes to score another in providing an alternate expansion, Wonkblog’s Jason Millman recently reported:
Utah had its own exchange for small businesses that predated the federal health care law, and the state wanted to keep running it as is without also having to oversee individual enrollment. The Obama administration originally said states couldn’t divide up an exchange like that – but after Utah battled with the feds for three years on this point, CMS changed course early last year and said states could choose to run just their own small business exchanges.