TOPEKA (KSNT) – Healthcare workers and a state senator met at the Horton Community Hospital on Tuesday to help bring awareness to what they say is the need for Medicaid expansion in Kansas.

Senator Jeff Pittman, Dr. David Goering and Medicaid expansion advocate and nurse Becky Plate discussed how expansion could help save rural hospitals from having to close their doors in the future. The Horton Community Hospital closed its doors permanently on March 12, 2019, and was used as an example what could continue to happen if things don’t change.

“If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Kansans want to help their neighbor,” Pittman said. “Kansans want access to education. Kansans want good jobs that pay good wages. And Kansans want access to good health care.”

Pittman and his colleagues accused Attorney General Derek Schmidt and other Kansas Republicans of blocking Medicaid expansion. Pittman says it would give health coverage to over 150,000 Kansans, create 23,000 jobs in Kansas and bring in over $1.7 million in annual health care spending to Brown County alone.

“Although seven out of ten Kansans from all parties support Medicaid expansion, it has failed to pass in the Republican-controlled Legislature,” Goering said. “Governor Laura Kelly supports Medicaid expansion, whereas Derek Schmidt has opposed it, dating back to his time in office as a state senator. He is clearly out of touch with the urgent health care needs of Kansans.”