Kansas House fails in attempt to override Medicaid veto

(Reuters) - Lawmakers in Kansas on Monday failed to override Republican Governor Sam Brownback’s veto of a bill expanding eligibility for Medicaid for the poor under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).

FILE PHOTO: Republican Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

The Kansas House of Representatives voted 81 to 44 in favor of overriding the veto, falling three votes short of the 84 needed to advance the override.

State lawmakers in the Republican-controlled senate voted in favor of the measure last week, just days after President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare, ended with the bill being pulled from a vote.

The Republican-controlled House also voted in favor of the measure, but Brownback quickly vetoed the bill on Thursday. The House took up a debate on overriding the veto that day, but postponed a vote until Monday.

“It is disappointing that the Kansas House failed to override the veto because a small group of representatives chose to side with the Governor instead of the 82% of Kansans who support expanding KanCare and the vast majority of their colleagues in both chambers,” David Jordan, the executive director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, a coalition of groups that backed Medicaid expansion, said in a statement on Monday.

Brownback said the measure failed to eliminate waiting lists for disability services, did not add work requirements and was not budget neutral. It also continued to support Planned Parenthood, which provides a range of reproductive services including abortions, which Brownback opposes.

Kansas was not among the 31 states that in 2016 had opted to expand Medicaid, with the federal government footing much of the cost under Obamacare.

With the ACA’s enhanced federal funding, Medicaid expansion in Kansas, effective Jan. 1, 2018, would cost the state an estimated $31 million in fiscal 2018, which begins July 1, according to estimates cited in a legislative report on the bill.

It would cost $67 million in fiscal 2019 with more than 180,000 additional recipients, the report said.

Without enhanced federal matching funds, the state’s costs would balloon to $465 million by fiscal 2019.

Kansas tax collections fell $11.6 million below estimates for March mainly due to lower-than-expected personal income taxes, the state’s revenue department reported on Monday. However, tax revenue so far in fiscal 2017 was $57.5 million ahead of projections.

(The story was refiled to delete “reports” source from headline; the vote is on Kansas legislature’s public record)

Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago Additional reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Grant McCool