GOP controlled committees strip Gov. Kelly’s proposed expansion of Medicaid

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In this Wednesday, March 13, 2019, photo, Cory Sheedy, second from right, Gov. Laura Kelly’s legislative liaison, confers with three Kansas House members before the House Appropriations Committee strips Medicaid expansion funding from budget legislation, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas. The lawmakers are from left, Reps. Monica Murnan, D-Pittsburg; Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-Kansas City, Sheedy, and Brett Parker, D-Overland Park. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two Republican-controlled committees of the Kansas Legislature have stripped Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s proposed state spending for Medicaid expansion out of budget legislation.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 7-6 on Thursday to remove $14 million from a proposed budget for the state health department for the fiscal year beginning in July. The money represented Kelly’s initial estimate for the state tax dollars needed to draw down federal funds for the first six months after expanded Medicaid coverage started in January.

Medicaid expansion has bipartisan support, but GOP leaders strongly oppose it. They argue that supporters are underestimating the state’s potential costs.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 13-9 on Wednesday to remove not only the state tax dollars but the entire $509 million for expanded Medicaid coverage.

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