Kansas is looking to become the 32nd state to expand Medicaid after the House voted 81-44 today to send the bill on to the Senate.
The bill was initially blocked from seeing the House floor after not receiving the requisite votes to make it out of the House health committee. Monday night minority leader Wichita Democratic Rep. Jim Ward moved to pull the bill onto the floor for discussion Tuesday morning.
“I thought it was extremely unusual for someone in Congress to invoke the rule to pull it out of committee, but I do know Jim has been in favor of this bill for awhile,” KU Political Science professor Burdett Loomis said. “I think it shows a willingness of current Republicans and Democrats to work together.”
The move to pass the bill comes on the heels of Congress considering reforms to the Affordable Care Act. Kansas is somewhat late on Medicaid expansion because of trouble getting this bill out of committee for years.
With the Medicaid program KanCare expanding to people ages 19 to 64 that earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, the number of those being helped in Kansas is expected to rise to 181,000.