Capitol Bureau

Kansas gubernatorial candidates discuss positions on Medicaid expansion

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) - With the Kansas primary just two days away, KSN Capitol Bureau Chief Courtney Ryan takes a look at where all the major gubernatorial candidates stand on Medicaid expansion.

Expanding Medicaid is a hot-button issue on the campaign trail.

In 2017, Kansas lawmakers sent a Medicaid expansion bill to then-Governor Sam Brownback. 

Brownback vetoed the bill and the house was unable to find support to override the veto.

"We need to get Medicaid expanded this time and that will happen," said Lara Kelly Democratic candidate. 

All three major Democratic gubernatorial candidates, State Sen. Laura Kelly, Former Ag Secretary Josh Svaty, and former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer support expansion. 

"Every single person deserves to have healthcare," said Carl Brewer, Democratic candidate.

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. 

"If you don't have access to healthcare, people wait until it is too late, lose a limb, lose a life," said Jim Barnett, Republican candidate. 

On the Republican side, out of the four major gubernatorial candidates, former State Senator Jim Barnett is the only one who fully supports Medicaid expansion. 

"Medicaid is another billion dollar cost to the state, that's another budget issue," said Ken Selzer, Republican candidate.

Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Governor Jeff Colyer have all said expansion is too costly.

"Kansans overwhelming oppose Obamacare," said Governor Colyer. "This is something that would increase costs for Kansans and does not solve the problems for rural hospitals."

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