BREAKING: Brownback vetoes Medicaid expansion

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FILE – In this Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback speaks to the legislature in Topeka. The Department of Revenue reported Monday, Aug. 1, that the state collected $425 million in taxes last month, compared with the state’s official projection of nearly $438 million. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has vetoed a bill that would have extended the state’s health coverage for the poor under former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

The conservative Republican governor made the move Thursday. He explained that he thinks the expansion would fail to serve the truly needy and would burden the state with what he called “unrestrainable entitlement costs.”

The bill would have expanded Medicaid coverage to as many as 180,000 additional adults.

Legislators gave final approval to the measure Tuesday. It had strong bipartisan majorities in both chambers, but supporters were short of the two-thirds majorities necessary to override a veto. Nevertheless, they are expected to try.

Brownback has been a vocal critic of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” and his action was expected.

The bill before Brownback would have Medicaid cover up to 180,000 additional Kansas residents.

Under the 2010 ACA law signed by Obama, states were granted opportunity to widen eligibility for Medicaid with the federal government paying 100 percent of increased costs through 2016. The federal share drops to 95 percent in 2017 and 90 percent by 2020. But Brownback’s administration still sees an expansion as potentially costly.

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