Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers said Kansas lawmakers need to stop delaying a vote in the Senate on whether to expand Medicaid.
In an interview with The Mercury Wednesday, Rogers, a Democrat, said Republican leadership in the Senate has prevented any healthcare-related bill from reaching the floor for a vote. He came to Manhattan to speak at a conference.
“I think what’s unfortunate is they’re not allowing any bill that has any semblance of healthcare involved in it to come to the floor because they don’t want anybody to amend it and do what they did in the House,” he said. “We’re just kicking these cans down the road and we’re not getting any talk about important issues.”
Gov. Laura Kelly has made a concentrated effort urging lawmakers to expand Medicaid, a program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals and those with disabilities, before the Legislature plans to adjourn Friday for three weeks.
The expansion bill passed the House of Representatives March 21, but the Senate has yet to vote on it.
If the bill passes, Kansas could increase eligibility to families who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and the federal government would pay for 90 percent of the cost. The plan passed by the House would expand access to 133 percent of the federal poverty level or 150,000 additional residents.
Rogers said the bill not receiving enough votes to pass is one issue, but the Senate should not delay the matter further.
“We could pick it up again next year, but that’s another year for Kansans not getting the healthcare they deserve,” Rogers said.