TOPEKA (CAPITOL BUREAU) — With less than two months from the Kansas primary election, KSNT is digging into the issues that impact your pocketbook.
The first issue we are digging into is where the candidates stand on Medicaid expansion.
Jim Barnett is the only Republican candidate running for governor to come out and fully support Medicaid expansion.
“If you do not have access to healthcare you wait until it’s too late. You lose a limb maybe, or maybe lose a life,” Barnett said.
The state’s privatized Medicaid system known as KanCare provides health insurance to more than 420,000 low-income and elderly people across the state.
Expanding Medicaid would extend coverage to roughly 150,000 Kansans.
So where do the other Republican candidates stand?
Governor Jeff Colyer sits firm on his position to not expand.
“Kansans overwhelming oppose Obamacare. This is something that would increase costs for Kansans and does not solve the problems for rural hospitals,” said Gov. Jeff Colyer after a news conference Tuesday.
Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer said while he would prefer not to expand Medicaid, he is open to the idea of expansion, but only if it requires people to work certain hours or undergo work training in order to receive KanCare.
“We need a robust job requirement and we need a way to fund it. If those things were there, I would probably support a program,” Selzer said during a phone interview.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach was unavailable for an interview. A spokeswoman for his campaign said “Secretary Kobach opposes expanding Obamacare, because it would bankrupt the state.”
All qualified Democrats in the governor’s race have said they support medicaid expansion.
Last year, Kansas lawmakers sent a Medicaid expansion bill to then-Governor Sam Brownback.
Brownback vetoed the bill and the House was unable to find enough support to override the veto.