TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly said Monday that Medicaid expansion would be a great help to the state of Kansas during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kansas lawmakers have been squabbling over Medicaid expansion for years. Governor Kelly says that if Medicaid expansion had been in place years ago, the state would have been bringing in up to $1 billion dollars each year. She says this would not only put the state in a much better financial position but also help local hospitals.

“They would have had better bottom lines and better cushions to ride this through and then better ongoing revenue,” said Governor Kelly.

Republican Senate Majority Leader, Jim Denning, agrees with the governor. In a statement to KSNT, he said, “All Kansas hospitals, just like our businesses, will take a big financial hit from the effects of the C-19 emergency.”

Denning added that passing Medicaid expansion would help the state bounce back after the coronavirus pandemic.

“SB252, Kansas Innovative Solutions for Affordable Healthcare Act, would provide almost a billion dollars in federal money annually to the hospitals to help them rebuild and continue to take care of all patients in the future,” said Denning.

In January, Governor Kelly and Senator Denning, R-Overland Park, introduced a bi-partisan Medicaid Expansion plan that had support both in the House and the Senate. This bill, along with other expansion bills, is being held up in the Senate.

However, Senate President Susan Wagle announced her plan to block all Medicaid expansion bills from the Senate floor until the ‘Value Them Both’ constitutional amendment passes the Kansas House. The Value Them Both amendment would give the legislature the power to regulate abortion in the state; it passed through the Senate but failed in the House.